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Italy on Tuesday, December 28, 2021, allowed a charity boat carrying hundreds of migrants rescued at sea to dock in the Sicilian port of Augusta, with another vessel waiting offshore for permission to bring 440 more to land.

The Geo Barents ship, run by charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF), took onboard 558 people, mainly Africans, in eight separate operations off the coast of Libya in the last 11 days, the charity said.

They include 174 minors and a woman who is eight months pregnant.

Migrants are rescued by members of the German NGO Sea-Watch during a search and rescue (SAR) operation in the Mediterranean Sea on Christmas day, December 25, 2021. Max Brugger/Sea Watch/Handout via REUTERS
Migrants are rescued by members of the German NGO Sea-Watch during a search and rescue (SAR) operation in the Mediterranean Sea on Christmas day, December 25, 2021. Max Brugger/Sea Watch/Handout via REUTERS

The German charity boat Sea Watch 3 is also seeking a port to disembark 440 migrants it rescued in recent days in the Mediterranean, including women and young children.

Migrants are rescued by members of the German NGO Sea-Watch during a search and rescue (SAR) operation in the Mediterranean Sea on Christmas day, December 25, 2021. Max Brugger/Sea Watch/Handout via REUTERS
Migrants are rescued by members of the German NGO Sea-Watch during a search and rescue (SAR) operation in the Mediterranean Sea on Christmas day, December 25, 2021. Max Brugger/Sea Watch/Handout via REUTERS

“The weather deteriorates … Everyone has the right to disembark, now,” Sea Watch wrote on Twitter.

Italy has seen a sharp increase in boat migrants in recent months with the government struggling to secure an agreement with European Union partners over how to deal with the influx.

Migrants are rescued by members of the German NGO Sea-Watch during a search and rescue (SAR) operation in the Mediterranean Sea on Christmas day, December 25, 2021. Max Brugger/Sea Watch/Handout via REUTERS

As of Dec. 28, 66,482 migrants have reached Italy so far this year against 34,134 in the same period of 2020, interior ministry data show.

Migrants wait to be rescued by members of the German NGO Sea-Watch during a search and rescue (SAR) operation in the Mediterranean Sea, December 26, 2021. Max Brugger/Sea Watch/Handout via REUTERS
Migrants wait to be rescued by members of the German NGO Sea-Watch during a search and rescue (SAR) operation in the Mediterranean Sea, December 26, 2021. Max Brugger/Sea Watch/Handout via REUTERS

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