Ocean Viking finally docks, 230 migrants set foot in France

The Ocean Viking was eventually allowed to dock in the port of Toulon. © EPA-EFE

The vessel Ocean Viking of the NGO SOS Méditerranée has docked this morning in the southern French port of Toulon. There, the 230 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean off the coast of Libya can land. That reports the maritime prefecture.

gliSource: BELGA

After three weeks of wandering in search of a safe haven in Italy, the Ocean Viking arrived in France around 8:50 am.

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin gave the Ocean Viking permission to dock in Toulon on Thursday. He called it a “duty to humanity”. The French interior minister said that the ship is being received “by way of exception”. In particular because the Italian authorities have made the people on board wait 15 days. Darmanin denounced Italy’s “incomprehensible choice” not to allow the ship to dock and accused Rome of “not acting like a responsible European state”.

According to a French doctor on board, people with special vulnerabilities will first set foot ashore after being examined by a doctor. This is followed by women, children and families.

On Thursday evening, Darmanin said nine other European countries have committed to hosting some of the migrants. Germany would take in “more than eighty” people. In addition, these are Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Malta, Portugal, Luxembourg and Ireland.

The interior minister also emphasized that only the refugees who qualify for asylum will be received. “Those who are not entitled to asylum will immediately return to their country of origin, Darmanin said.

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