The Latest: Italy will let rescue ship with 88 migrants dock
LJUBLJANA, Slovenia (AP) — The Latest on immigration to Europe. (all times local):
Italy has assigned a port where 88 migrants stranded for days on a rescue ship can disembark, following a deal to share them out among several European countries.
The Italian interior ministry said Friday night the Alan Kurdi, operated by the Germany’s Sea-Eye humanitarian group, will dock in Taranto, southern Italy.
Sea-Eye rescued the migrants a week earlier and pressed Italy for days to let it disembark the passengers.
The boat got docking permission after Germany and France together agreed to take 60 of the migrants. Portugal is taking 5 and Ireland 2, with Italy taking the rest.
Contending that aid ships facilitate human trafficking, Italy in recent years has closed its ports to the vessels, allowing docking only after other European countries pledge to take the migrants.
Police in North Macedonia say two people have been injured after a smuggling car crammed with 14 migrants collided with a truck on a highway in the south of the country.
The car driver ran away after the accident late Thursday, and the trucker, who was not hurt, called police who found and detained the migrants. A police statement Friday said the men were from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.
The circumstances of the crash were not immediately clear. The two injured migrants were taken to hospital.
The accident occurred near the town of Demir Kapija, some 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of the border with Greece — from which the migrants are believed to have entered illegally.
A humanitarian rescue ship with 88 migrants aboard says it has entered Italian waters off Sicily to shelter from strong wind and waves.
Sea-Eye said its vessel Alan Kurdi was awaiting assignment of a safe port by Italy on Friday, a week after its passengers were taken off an unseaworthy smugglers’ boat in the Mediterranean off Libya.
The charity’s officials say a diplomatic solution with EU countries to take some of the migrants was reached earlier in the week but there’s still no disembarkation permission.
Separately, the Italian coast guard found the bodies of two men, apparently North Africans, in a dinghy adrift off Sardinia Friday. Authorities said it wasn’t clear when they died, or if others might have been earlier aboard the dinghy, which had neither oars nor motor.
Police in Slovenia say two men — apparently migrants who were trying to reach Western Europe — have drowned in the river Kolpa on the border with Croatia.
Police in the southern town of Novo Mesto said Friday they have asked for help outside Slovenia in identifying the victims. They say an autopsy will be performed on the bodies that were recovered on Thursday from the river, which is called Kupa in Croatian.
They also say they have apprehended 20 migrants in the area in the past day. The migrants identified themselves as coming from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Syria.
Thousands of migrants fleeing war or poverty in their home countries take perilous journeys toward and through Europe, seeking a better future in the continent’s wealthy nations.