Rescue vessel Ocean Viking picked up 128 migrants that were stranded of the Libyan coast, according to AFP, November 12.
The vessel belongs to SOS Mediterranee, a maritime humanitarian organisation that aids migrants who flee Libya and who risk drowning en route away from the country. The NGO has multiple headquarters in European cities, those being Marseille, Milan, Frankfurt, and Geneva.
Following the Ocean Viking rescue mission, Italy’s authorities ordered that those picked up should be dropped off at the port of Ortona, a small coastal area in the country.
SOS Mediterranee were angered at the authorities’ designated drop off point, noting it was too “distant”.
In a concerned statement, the group affirmed,“They will have to endure three more days of pointless sailing to finally reach a safe place,”.
The NGO has rescued 39,000 people in the Mediterranean since 2016 as thousands make the dangerous route through the sea to Europe in hope of a better life.
Whilst the Med remains popular, many African migrants opt to travel away from the continent via the Atlantic Ocean due to the higher presence of patrols in the Mediterranean Sea.
The UN noted that 186,000 migrants successfully crossed it from January to October 2023.
Italy is the most popular destination for Libyan migrants who wish to flee, mostly due to the problematic political situation that the North African country has seen since the toppling of strongman Muammar Gaddafi back in 2011.
High numbers have arrived in Italy this year alone despite hard-right Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s anti-immigration rhetoric.