The Geo Barents rescue ship operated by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) disembarked 339 migrants rescued at sea on Friday morning, including at least 24 unaccompanied minors.
The Geo Barents rescue ship operated by Doctors without Borders (MSF) arrived in the Italian port of Brindisi on Friday morning carrying 339 migrants and refugees rescued in the central Mediterranean, including at least 24 unaccompanied minors.
MSF reports the migrants are from Syria, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Somalia and Sri Lanka.
Torture and rape suffered in Libya
Two women around age 20 told MSF doctors onboard after disembarkation they had been subjected to sexual violence and torture in Libyan detention centers.
Three people are suspected of having suffered fractures and burns. In Libya, the adults allegedly suffered torture -- the marks of which remain on their bodies -- while the children were subjected to psychological violence, said MSF humanitarian affairs chief Sebastien Ponsford.
Some of the women travelling alone in Libya were also allegedly forced into slavery and subjected to sexual abuse.
Among the migrants onboard were some children with cardiac problems. Doctors also observed some cases of scabies.
Migrants to be sent to different regions in Italy
"We are prepared to ensure the best possible reception for the migrants," said Brindisi prefect Michela La Iacona in a meeting with journalists at the Brindisi port, where the MSF's Geo Barents had arrived shortly before.
The 24 unaccompanied minors will remain in Brindisi, where they will be hosted in facilities already chosen by the municipal authorities, along with other adults.
The other migrants will be sent to different centers chosen by the interior ministry in the Lombardy, Veneto, Piedmont and Emilia Romagna regions.
A Syrian family that disembarked had already tried to flee their country to reach Europe via Libya four times, but had been intercepted at sea and brought into Libyan detention centers each time.
'Can I eat pizza every day?'
The ship rescued 440 migrants in only a few days at sea. Of those, around 100 were transferred to an Italian Coast Guard ship, and one was evacuated via helicopter due to their precarious state of health.
The rest remained aboard the Geo Barents vessel.
The disembarkation in Italy's southern Puglia region began after 7 AM on Friday and identification and more extensive health checks began afterward on land.
One of the children disembarked by the Geo Barents asked MSF workers repeatedly when he could eat pizza.
"Tell me that I will eat pizza every day in Italy," he said repeatedly in English.