The Italian Coast Guard Sunday received 41 migrants rescued on Jun. 12 by the American warship Trenton off the Libyan coast, five days after waiting for instructions from Rome.
The transfer took place early Sunday on the Italian island of Lampedusa in the central Mediterranean, Italian Coast Guard officials told EFE.
They were received by the Coast Guard ship Diciotti, which already had around 450 migrants on board rescued by the Italian Navy in various operations on Friday night.
The migrants would remain at sea at least until Monday, as Diciotti will continue its services in the Mediterranean, and they will be transferred to a port yet to be assigned, sources said.
Italy agreed to accept the Trenton migrants five days after it rescued them following a shipwreck in which the military vessel's crew saw 12 bodies floating in the water, the United States Navy reported.
The migrants' transfer from an American ship and a Coast Guard vessel came at a time when the new government in Rome refused to accept another group of migrants. Italy would not accept 629 migrants rescued by the Aquarius rescue vessel belonging to SOS Méditerranée on Jun. 9, while Malta also refused to accept them.
Spain's new prime minister stepped in and offered to welcome the migrants to the eastern city of Valencia.