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Malta: 356 migrants disembark 'Ocean Viking' rescue ship in Valletta02:03

Malta: 356 migrants disembark 'Ocean Viking' rescue ship in Valletta

Malta, Valletta
August 24, 2019 at 08:10 GMT +00:00 · Published

After a two-week stand-off 356 migrants saved from the Mediterranean by the 'Ocean Viking' rescue ship were allowed to disembark in Valletta late on Friday, after six other EU states agreed to take them in.

The Norwegian flagged vessel, which was keeping land out of sight to avoid distress among the rescued, was stuck waiting in the central Mediterranean Sea for almost two weeks after both Italy and Malta failed to permit it to dock.

The rescued migrants were disembarked and transported in police vans as soon as they were on shore, with France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal and Romania being set to be their eventual final destinations.

The Ocean Viking, registered as a Norwegian cargo ship, was launched as part of a new campaign to neutralise smuggling routes in July by French NGO SOS Mediterranee. The ship, conducting a sea rescue campaign off the coast of Libya in partnership with Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), replaced the Aquarius, which SOS Mediterranee stopped operating in 2018 after multiple accusations of smuggling and criminal activity.

Malta: 356 migrants disembark 'Ocean Viking' rescue ship in Valletta02:03
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After a two-week stand-off 356 migrants saved from the Mediterranean by the 'Ocean Viking' rescue ship were allowed to disembark in Valletta late on Friday, after six other EU states agreed to take them in.

The Norwegian flagged vessel, which was keeping land out of sight to avoid distress among the rescued, was stuck waiting in the central Mediterranean Sea for almost two weeks after both Italy and Malta failed to permit it to dock.

The rescued migrants were disembarked and transported in police vans as soon as they were on shore, with France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal and Romania being set to be their eventual final destinations.

The Ocean Viking, registered as a Norwegian cargo ship, was launched as part of a new campaign to neutralise smuggling routes in July by French NGO SOS Mediterranee. The ship, conducting a sea rescue campaign off the coast of Libya in partnership with Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), replaced the Aquarius, which SOS Mediterranee stopped operating in 2018 after multiple accusations of smuggling and criminal activity.

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