ROME, Italy: Non-governmental organization (NGO), Doctors Without Borders said that the Italian government has rejected its request to assign a safe port for its ship, the Geo Barents, after having brought aboard 73 migrants.
The dispute highlights the conflict between Italy's right-wing government and NGOs over where to disembark migrants rescued in the Mediterranean Sea.
Over the weekend, the Geo Barents received permission from Rome to dock far from Sicily, where rescued migrants are normally disembarked at Ancona port.
"The interior ministry rejected our request for a closer safe port for the disembarkation of the 73 survivors on board the Geo Barents. The ship is heading north," said Doctors Without Borders' Mission Head Juan Matias Gil, as reported by Reuters.
Earlier, the Geo Barents asked for a closer port after transferring migrants from a rubber dinghy traveling from Libya, adding that it would take it more than three days to reach Ancona due to worsening weather conditions.