ROME (Reuters) – French charity SOS Mediterranee said on Tuesday its Ocean Viking rescue ship was heading for France after Italy’s new rightist government refused to take the 234 migrants it has aboard into one of its ports.

The Ocean Viking “intends to ask France for a safe port of disembarkation”, and is expected to reach international waters off the French island of Corsica on Thursday, charity representative Alessandro Porro said in a statement.

In a tweet, SOS Mediterranee added: “After Italy’s silence, we ask French maritime authorities to assign a port to the 234 survivors on the #OceanViking.”

(Reporting by Angelo Amante, writing by Alvise Armellini; Editing by Keith Weir)

FILE PHOTO: Crew members of NGO ship ‘Ocean Viking’ give lifejackets to migrants on a boat in the Mediterranean Sea, October 25, 2022. Camille Martin Juan/Sos Mediterranee/Handout via REUTERS