The Ocean Viking rescue vessel, operated by Marseille-based SOS Mediterranee, conducted three operations off the coast of Libya, rescuing a total of 128 stranded migrants.
Following the rescues, the Italian authorities designated the port of Ortona on the Adriatic coast for disembarkation, prompting criticism from the NGO for choosing a “distant” port.
The survivors faced three additional days of sailing to reach a safe place, according to the NGO’s statement.
The rescues, initiated after alerts on a migrant phone number, involved people from unseaworthy boats, some without life jackets. SOS Mediterranee has rescued over 39,000 people in the Mediterranean since 2016.
Despite an increase in migrant crossings, Italy has recently adopted a decree impacting the activities of NGO ships.