Among the migrants awaiting a port were several that were transferred to Sea-Watch 4 by a smaller boat, the Louise Michel, Sea-Watch Italy tweeted. According to Italian media, the Louise Michel is a former French coast guard motorboat put into service by activists for rescues in the Mediterranean after being painted by the street artist Bansky.
Sea-Watch said waiting for a port off Malta were 27 migrants aboard the merchant ship which rescued them 22 days ago. Disembarking rescued migrants in Italy has become particularly politically sensitive during the pandemic. Last week, the governor of Sicily closed all migrant centers on the Italian island since the residences had become too crowded to guarantee social distancing. Some rescued migrants in Italy have also tested positive.
On Thursday, an administrative court in Sicily ruled that the governor's order be stayed for now, pending an outcome of an expected challenge by Italy's central government, which is in charge of migrant policy.