The humanitarian ship Alan Kurdi on September 19, 2020 off the port of Marseille.


Joris GRAHL / / AFP

After sailing for a while for Marseille, France, the humanitarian ship Alan Kurdi, and the 125 migrants who survived on board, docked this Thursday in the Italian port of Arbatax in Sardinia, announced the NGO Sea-Eye.

"Alan Kurdi has reached the port of Arbatax and has been instructed by the port authorities to drop anchor and await further instructions," said the NGO which charters the boat in a press release.

Arbatax, a “safe harbor”?

Sea-Eye, however, clarified that it did not know if Arbatax would be a "safe port", that is to say if the survivors, among whom are children, could disembark.

Previously, the NGO based in Regensburg, Bavaria (Germany), had indicated that it had been contacted by the Italian authorities “Wednesday at midnight to discuss after five days (!) The continuation of the coordination and to offer the boat a weather protection in Arbatax ”.

France had asked Italy on Wednesday to allow the Alan Kurdi to dock who rescued 133 people in the Mediterranean on Saturday, while he was on his way to the French port of Marseille (south) for lack of being able to land on the Italian coast .

Eight people, including a five-month-old baby, had however been evacuated by the Italian coast guard.

Marseille ready to welcome the boat "unconditionally"

More than 50 minors are still aboard the boat, many of whom are unaccompanied youth, according to Sea-Eye.

Young children are also on the ship.

French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said Wednesday that the Sea-Eye boat was to "be accommodated in the nearest safe port", France implicitly declining any possibility of letting the ship dock in Marseille.

The principle of disembarking survivors in the nearest “safe port”, enshrined in international maritime law, generally amounts to entrusting, during rescue operations in the central Mediterranean, this first reception to Italy or Malta.

For its part, the city of Marseille had said it was ready to welcome the boat "unconditionally", even if France has always refused such an option.


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