Italy allows children and sick off migrant ship

STORY: Several vessels holding almost 1,000 migrants have been at sea off Italy for more than a week waiting for permission from the new rightist government in Rome to dock.

On Friday (November 5) Italy's Interior Minister said German-flagged Humanity 1 ship with 179 people aboard would be allowed to disembark minors and people with health issues, adding the boat and the rest of those onboard would then be sent out of territorial waters.

After an inspection carried out by the authorities, 144 migrants, mainly minors, were allowed to leave Humanity 1 ship while some 35 adults judged to be in good health conditions could not disembark, the German NGO said in an emailed message.

"Our job is always the same, namely to be close to these people and their needs. We immediately give them some hot tea as the temperatures are low," said Italian Red Cross official Stefano Principato.

It is not clear at the moment whether the ship will be asked to leave the port, the German NGO said, adding an order to leave Catania would breach international rules.