German ship with 400 migrants still waiting for Mediterranean port

Photo: Courtesy dpa

The German rescue ship Sea-Watch 3 carrying more than 400 migrants picked up from boats in the Mediterranean continued its wait to be allowed to dock on Thursday after the Italian coastguard took off a heavily pregnant woman overnight.

Three women with severe fuel burns had previously been taken off the ship operated by the organization Sea-Watch, the Berlin-based private organization reported on Twitter.

The volunteer crew of the vessel had earlier picked up more than 410 migrants in seven separate operations on the central Mediterranean Sea on Sunday and Monday. Many of them were minors, Sea-Watch said.

The doctor accompanying the rescue mission reported that the medical capacity on board was now at its limits.

A number of private organizations are working to pick up migrants leaving the North African coastline in unseaworthy boats in an attempt to reach Europe.

Their operations have provoked controversy in Italy, which has taken in thousands of migrants, many of them landing on the Italian island of Lampedusa off the Tunisian coast.

The Italian government has long demanded that the European Union set up a permanent system to redistribute the migrants.

To date this year, almost 50,900 migrants have reached Italy by sea, according to Interior Ministry figures. The figure is almost double the 26,700 recorded in the same period last year.

Text and photo: Courtesy © dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH