Migrants get their hair shaved aboard the Ocean Viking humanitarian rescue ship, in the Mediterranean Sea, Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019. Eighty-two rescued migrants remain on board the humanitarian rescue ship waiting for a European country to give them permission to disembark. (AP Photo/Renata Brito)

Italy: Rescue boat with 82 migrants can dock at Italian isle

September 14, 2019 - 1:27 am

ABOARD THE OCEAN VIKING (AP) — A charity rescue boat with 82 migrants aboard says it has been given permission to dock at a tiny Italian island.

Ocean Viking's crew said Saturday that Italian authorities instructed the ship to sail to Lampedusa island.

The Ocean Viking, which had appealed for days for a port of safety, is operated by two humanitarian groups, Doctors Without Borders and SOS Mediterranee.

It isn't clear if Italy's new government is softening its anti-migrant policy. The previous coalition banned charity boats from bringing migrants to Italy.

Fifty of those aboard were rescued on Sept. 8 from human traffickers' flimsy rubber dinghy launched from Libya. Thirty-four other migrants were rescued the next day in the Mediterranean. A woman about to give birth and her husband were taken to Malta earlier in the week.