Italy lets in NGO ship’s migrants, other vessels in limbo

STORY: Migrants on board the rescue ship ‘Rise Above’ cheered and celebrated Tuesday after crew members announced they would be allowed to disembark in Italy…

That’s according to the German charity Mission Lifeline, which operates the ship.

The boat – one of four charity rescue boats that had been denied safe port by Italy’s new right-wing government after a week at sea...

But Tuesday – the Rise Above docked in the southern Italian port of Reggio Calabria and 89 people it had picked up in the Mediterranean were let ashore.

It was not immediately clear why the Rise Above was given clearance to dock. However, Mission Lifeline said it was a much smaller boat than the three other rescue ships and its passengers had suffered badly in recent heavy seas.

Right-wing Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s two-week-old administration has imposed a crackdown on boat migration, telling charity vessels that rescue people stranded at sea to take them to other countries.

Of the four ships at sea, the country allowed two to dock in Sicily over the weekend, only letting off the most vulnerable people, leaving about 250 onboard.

The captains of the two boats, one operated by German charity SOS Humanity and the other by France's Doctors without Borders (MSF), have refused orders to put to sea again with the remaining migrants and are challenging the edict in the courts.

CREW MEMBER: "We are not going anywhere... We are staying here."

At least one rescue ship was giving up…

Citing Italy’s “silence,” French charity SOS Mediterranée said Tuesday that its Ocean Viking was heading for France with its 234 survivors onboard, intending to ask the country for “a safe port of disembarkation.”

They were picked up from the sea off Libya 17 days ago and have repeatedly demanded access to an Italian port... to no avail.