After allowing NGO rescue ship Ocean Viking carrying 234 migrants rescued at sea to dock in Toulon, French interior minister Gérald Darmanin has announced that 44 of the group will be deported 'as soon as their health allows', and that others may yet also be expelled.
On Friday November 11th the 230 migrants who had been on board the 'Ocean Viking' finally disembarked at Toulon on the French Mediterranean coast after a diplomatic tussle between Paris and Rome. On Sunday Mediapart joined French Parliamentarians who visited the migrants at the 'waiting zone' where they have been held since leaving the humanitarian vessel. The leftwing politicians left the site voicing doubts about whether the migrants' asylum rights are being respected. And migrant group activists say that the survivors from the ship should be freed immediately because of the hardships they have suffered and their vulnerability. Pierre Isnard-Dupuy reports.
The Ocean Viking, flagship of the French-based maritime humanitarian organisation SOS Méditerranée, was allowed to dock in Sicily on Monday after rescuing 374 migrants attempting, in overcrowded rubber dinghies, the hazardous crossing of the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Europe. It was the first time the ship had been on a search and rescue operation since it was blocked for five months last year in an Italian port. Mediapart’s Nejma Brahim was aboard the Ocean Viking for its two-week sortie, and reports on the tense last moments of its mission as it battled heavy seas between Malta and Sicily.