The private rescue ship Sea-Watch 4 has been granted permission to dock in Sicily having waited for a safe port assignment since Monday. It has been carrying around 460 migrants rescued from distress in the Mediterranean in the course of the past week.
Italian authorities instructed the NGO ship to dock in the port of Augusta on the east coast of Sicily, Sea-Watch announced on Friday.
The crew declared a state of emergency on board after the health of several rescued migrants had further deteriorated. Four people had reportedly fainted during a storm off the coast of the Italian island, a spokesperson for Sea-Watch told the German dpa news agency. The Italian coast guard did pick up some of those migrants in poor health, bringing them to shore for medial attention.
The crew of the Sea-Watch 4 had effectively been left waiting to be assigned a harbor by Italian authorities for several days following the end of their latest rescue mission on Monday.
The rescue vessel had been sent threats by Libya's coast guard several days ago, after it was wrongly alleged that they had entered Libyan territorial waters.
The Mediterranean Sea routes is one of the deadliest migration routes in the world. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), at least 1,645 people have died or gone missing attempting that crossing so far this year alone.
With dpa, epd