At least five European Union countries – Spain, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Portugal – have offered to take some of the migrants who disembarked on the Italian island of Lampedusa late on Tuesday after being stranded for weeks at sea.
About 100 migrants, who were on board the charity ship Open Arms, were allowed to disembark after a prosecutor ordered the evacuation of the vessel.
Italy had refused to allow them to leave the ship for nearly three weeks, though dozens of children and the sick had been taken ashore. Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has taken a hard line on migration.
Earlier, about 10 migrants jumped off the ship, hoping to swim to the island.
Those leaving the boat could be seen limping or in bandages, the AFP news agency said.
One of the migrants told the agency about his experience: “I nearly went mad.”
He said that he and other migrants had been left “to cook like spaghetti” in their boat, which had broke down. They were subsequently rescued by Open Arms.
According to Reuters, the EU Commission is also seeking states willing to take migrants on a second charity vessel, the Ocean Viking, which has been stranded at sea for 13 days trying to find a port to allow the hundreds of those rescued from the Mediterranean to disembark.