MILAN – Italy has allowed migrant families rescued at sea by the humanitarian group Sea-Watch to be transferred to the southern Italian island of Lampedusa, but is refusing landfall to others.
Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said Saturday that children and those with ailments were permitted to enter Italy, "but the absolute ban remains on the Sea Watch 3 against entering our territorial waters. "
Despite the ban, the Sea Watch announced on Twitter that it would enter Italian waters, citing humanitarian reasons. The Italian news agency ANSA said it had crossed into territorial waters by mid-afternoon.
Forty-seven migrants rescued Wednesday off Libya remain on board the ship, including a pregnant woman and a man with disabilities.
Sea-Watch says the 18 migrants taken to Lampedusa were mostly families and an injured woman.