Norwegian ships have picked up even more people in the Mediterranean

In this photo released Friday, Aug. 9, 2019, rescued migrants line up for registration as they arrive on board the Ocean Viking rescue ship after being saved from a rubber boat in distress off Libya. Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who has triggered a government crisis in Italy, said he is preparing to sign a ban on the ship's entry into Italian waters. (Photo SOS Mediterranee/MSF via AP)

The Norwegian ship Ocean Viking has picked up over 80 people in the Mediterranean off the coast of Libya, the day after the ship took 85 people on board.

Most of the 80 people taken on board on Saturday are men and boys from Sudan, MSF reports.

About half of the 80 were children under 18 who were alone, many of them between 13 and 15, according to MSF.

The white inflatable boat they were in was discovered after the Ocean Viking saw a plane flying back and forth over it, according to MSF Mediterranean officer Jay Berger.

Ocean Viking then sailed to the site and picked up those on board. Berger says the plane never notified Ocean Viking.

MSF operates the Norwegian cargo ship jointly with the French organisation SOS Mediterranee.

170 in total
On Friday, the crew picked up 85 people from an inflatable boat, among them 25 children under the age of 18. According to MSF, the inflatable boat was in distress when they found it off the coast of Libya.

There are about 170 migrants and refugees on board.

Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini demands that Norway take responsibility for people who the Ocean Viking picks up in the Mediterranean. He also points out that, after the introduction of a new law, it is now illegal for privately operated rescue vessels to call Italian ports.

Norway will not accept
Norway’s Justice and Immigration Minister Jøran Kallmyr (FRP) said on Friday, when news of the 85 people had arrived, that it is completely out of date for Norway to welcome people rescued in the Mediterranean.

Migrants must now be transported back to Africa, either to Tunisia or Libya. They should not be sent to Europe because then this action will be an extension of the refugee route instead of it being a rescue operation, he says.

We see that on these boats there are often people from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt and Tunisia, and they have nothing to do in Europe. It is not those who will be granted asylum, says Kallmyr.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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