Italy has agreed to let the Ocean Viking disembark rescued migrants under a deal with EU states. The standoff comes as the EU seeks to strike a comprehensive agreement on migrant sharing at a meeting later this month.
Italy has granted permission for the rescue ship Ocean Viking to disembark 82 migrants in the southern island of Lampedusa, the SOS Mediterranee charity — which runs the vessel — said Saturday.
French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner wrote on Twitter that an "ad hoc" agreement had been reached between Italy, France, Germany, Portugal and Luxembourg to allow the migrants to come on land.
Ocean Viking picked up 50 migrants in the Mediterranean last Sunday and took 34 more from another boat earlier in the week. A pregnant woman about to give birth and her husband were allowed to disembark in Malta.
A new government in Italy has boosted the prospect that it may reverse the country's hardline immigration policy. Former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini had closed Italy's ports to vessels rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean.
Most of the standoffs between Italy and charity boats have ended with other European states agreeing to take in the migrants. Similar deals have been struck with Malta, which has also tightened its immigration policy.
EU members are seeking to move beyond this ad hoc arrangement at a ministerial meeting in Malta on September 23, followed by another one in Luxembourg in early October.
German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said Friday that Germany was prepared to take in 25% of migrants who arrive in Italy by boat from North Africa.
cw/rc (AFP, AP, dpa)