Italy’s new far-right-led government was locked in a weekslong standoff with humanitarian groups that rescue migrants in the central Mediterranean Sea. It argued that the countries whose flag the ships fly should take in the migrants, not Italy, a position vehemently opposed by humanitarian groups, legal experts and human rights activists.
After ignoring repeated requests for a safe port, Italy directed three ships with migrants to ports in southern Italy, initially selecting for disembarkation only those deemed vulnerable, including minors and those with medical conditions. Eventually all were allowed to enter Italy. But a fourth ship, the Ocean Viking, remained in international waters and eventually made its way toward France after nearly three weeks at sea, finally docking Friday at the port of Toulon.