Nearly 300 migrants arrived in the southern Italian port of Taranto after their rescue at sea. The rescue is one of five different operations by the crew of a humanitarian vessel operated by Doctors Without Borders.

Noted in an article on NewsChain, about half of the 293 rescued passengers on the Geo Barents were unaccompanied minors, according to the operators of the mission.

Doctors Without Borders also said on Twitter that those rescued faced “harrowing journeys, abuse, and detention in Libya” before they set out to cross the Mediterranean Sea.

fishing boat in Italy's Taranto port waterways
A rescue boat operated by Doctors Without Borders, not pictured, rescues migrants from several African countries. | Photo Credit: Aron Marinelli

The rescue mission took place in international waters off Libya and Malta.

According to rescuers, most of the migrants were from Gambia, Egypt, and Libya.

Nine Days from Rescue to Port Approval

Italian authorities assigned Geo Barents the port in Taranto in the southeast region nine days after the initial rescue.

“The time needed before obtaining a port for disembarking is still too long. It should be assigned immediately after the rescue operation,” said Riccardo Gatti of Doctors Without Borders, who was aboard the ship.

Similarly, the Ocean Viking saved about 35 migrants on another humanitarian rescue operation. The rescue included three children, most of them from Syria, in international waters off Malta.

Despite its life-saving impact, Italy’s new far-right premier, Giorgia Meloni, vowed during her campaign to crack down on illegal immigration.

One of her main coalition partners is League leader Matteo Salvini. As Italy’s interior minister in 2018-19, Salvini previously sought to stop rescue boats from bringing migrants to Italian ports.

Salvini defended his position of safeguarding his country, however, he was ultimately prosecuted in Italy for that policy.

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