Italy accepted 102 migrants blocked by Malta due mainly to humanitarian reasons, according to the Italian ambassador.

“After two days of stalemate my authorities decided out of humanitarian concerns to accept the boat and host the 102 persons, who are presenting their request for protection,” Giovanni Umberto De Vito said.

The migrants were rescued off the Libyan coast on Sunday by a Greek-owned tanker but the ship master ignored orders by the Rome rescue centre to take them to Tripoli, as the nearest safe port. Instead, citing commercial reasons, the captain continued on his way to Malta but was refused entry to Maltese waters.

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