Rescue ship heads to Italian port to disembark 47 migrants

Associated Press Thursday, 31 January 2019, 10:04 Last update: about 38 minutes ago

A migrant rescue ship is heading to a Sicilian port to disembark 47 migrants who were kept at sea for nearly two weeks while Italy pressed other European countries to agree to take them in.

The Sea-Watch 3, operated by the German aid group Sea Watch, was being escorted by Italian coast guard ships into port in Catania on Thursday morning.

Premier Giuseppe Conte announced a breakthrough in the standoff earlier this week, saying a half-dozen European countries had agreed to take in the migrants, who were rescued off Libya on Jan. 19, so Italy didn’t have to shoulder the burden alone.

Italy’s populist government has refused to allow humanitarian ships to dock in a bid to dissuade them from conducting rescues, and to force other countries to take asylum-seekers.

Malta is among seven countries who have agreed to share the migrants, Italy PM Giuseppe Conte said.

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