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The Latest: NGO welcomes Malta taking ashore migrants

MADRID (AP) — The Latest on the plight of migrants arriving in Europe (all times local): 1:25 p.m. The humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders is welcoming Malta's decision to take ashore migrants rescued by its Ocean Viking boat. But the group is also questioning why it took so long and calling for permanent European solutions.

Jay Berger, operations manager for Doctors Without Borders on board the Ocean Viking, said: "We are relieved that the long ordeal for the 356 people on board with us if finally over but was it necessary to keep them waiting for two weeks of torment?"

In a statement, he added: "This is about people who have fled desperate conditions in their homelands and have survived the horrific violence in Libya." He said once the rescued migrants have left the ship, the Ocean Viking will continue with its mission after restocking supplies and refueling.

1:20 p.m.

France says it will take 150 of the 356 migrants disembarking from a humanitarian ship in the Mediterranean Sea after six European countries agreed to accept all of them.

French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner tweeted that the 150 will be welcomed in France "in the coming days."

He added: "Together, we managed to build a European solution."

The migrants are being disembarked in Malta from the Norwegian-flagged rescue ship Ocean Viking and distributed to France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal and Romania.

Requests for a safe port were previously denied by Malta and ignored by Italy, according to Doctors Without Borders and SOS Mediterranee, the two charities running the ship.

1:10 p.m.

Aid organizations operating the Ocean Viking rescue ship are calling on Europe to devise standard solutions to taking in migrants saved in the Mediterranean.

Max Avis, search and rescue manager for SOS Mediterranee, which co-operates the Ocean Viking along with Doctors without Borders, says the current ad hoc approach to taking in migrants was adding to their suffering.

Avis spoke to reporters in Berlin via satellite link from Marseille. He made his comments just before Malta announced it would disembark 356 migrants rescued by the Ocean Viking ashore after six countries agreed to take them.

Avis also said the delay in taking in the rescued migrants has prevented the Ocean Viking from potentially rescuing others, which has added to tensions aboard the ship.

12:30 p.m.

Malta says it will disembark 356 migrants aboard a humanitarian ship in the central Mediterranean Sea after six European countries agreed to accept all of them.

In a series of tweets Friday, Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said the migrants will be transferred from the Ocean Viking to vessels of the country's armed forces before taking them on shore.

The Norwegian-flagged rescue ship has been sailing between the island of Linosa and Malta. It was stayed out of sight of land, fearing that could agitate the traumatized passengers.

Requests for a safe port were previously denied by Malta and ignored by Italy, according to Doctors Without Borders and SOS Mediterranee, the two charities running the ship.

The 356 will be distributed to France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal and Romania.

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