Migrants on board the Ocean Viking celebrate on November 10 when they hear they are to be allowed to dock in Toulon, France | Photo: Reuters
Migrants on board the Ocean Viking celebrate on November 10 when they hear they are to be allowed to dock in Toulon, France | Photo: Reuters

More than half the minors who disembarked from the Ocean Viking ship on November 11 in the French port of Toulon are reported to have left the protective care in which they were placed.

More than half of the unaccompanied minors from the Ocean Viking have fled the social services that were taking care of them, French authorities said. Out of the 44 minors that disembarked the rescue ship in Toulon in southern France last week, 26 have now fled, according to Reuters.

Some of them have not even waited for the French justice system to pronounce on their status, or their future, reported Le Figaro on Thursday, November 17.

"The majority of the minors [who have left the system] are Eritreans who preferred to try and reach their friends or families in Germany, Norway or Sweden," stated Le Figaro.

Three minors departed almost immediately

According to the authorities in the Var region, where Toulon is situated, three of the minors already left care within one or two days of disembarkation.

After the Ocean Viking disembarked 234 migrants in Toulon, the French authorities decided that 44 of them could be recognized as unaccompanied minors. 60 were allowed to begin their asylum process, and 44 of those on board were told they could not enter Europe.

On Tuesday the French authorities declared the 44 refused an asylum application would be "returned to their country of origin as soon as their health allows."

Waiting for asylum

Those who began the asylum process are Syrian, Sudanese and Eritrean, reports L’Independant. While their asylum claims are being processed, that group of migrants are destined to be sent to 11 different European countries, including Germany, Bulgaria, Croatia, Finland, Ireland, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Portugal and Romania.

According to Reuters, the children were not being held by the authorities and were therefore free to leave the accommodation at any time. The adults who were on board the ship, however, are not allowed to leave the center.

A French association ANAFÉ (National Association for Assistance to Foreigners at the Borders) applied for those being held in the center to be freed from the "waiting zone in an empty tourist village," according to the French broadcaster TF1, but their application was refused.

The prefecture in the Var said that they would continue to offer temporary shelter, medical care and schooling for the remaining 18 minors in their care.

 

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