In this Aug. 13, 2019 photo made available Monday, Aug. 19, 2019, rescued migrants rest on the deck of the Norwegian-flagged Ocean Viking vessel, operated by two French humanitarian groups, as it sails in the waters between the Italian island of Linosa, southern Italy, and Malta. Another potential migrant standoff looms as the Ocean Viking, carrying 356 migrants, has been sailing for 10 days without being able to dock after Malta refused to find a safe port while Italy hasn't answered the ship's request. (Hannah Wallace Bowman/MSF via AP)

The Latest: Slovenia extends its border fence with Croatia

August 22, 2019 - 7:47 am

MILAN (AP) — The Latest on migration into Europe (all times local):

1:40 p.m.

Slovenia has started erecting additional 40 kilometers (25 miles) of a fence on its southern border with Croatia to keep migrants out of the small Alpine state.

Slovenian border officials said Thursday the move comes as July saw the highest number of migrant crossings in a month since the migration wave peaked a few years ago, when thousands fleeing wars and poverty in their home countries tried to cross into European Union nations daily.

Slovenian police say in July a total of 1,740 migrant crossings were detected, while 7,415 were recorded in the first seven months of this year — mostly migrants from Pakistan, Algeria and Afghanistan.

Slovenia has already constructed about 180 kilometers (119 miles) of mostly barbed-wire fence with Croatia since 2016, costing some 19 million euros ($21 million).

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11:15 a.m.

The Ocean Viking ship is carrying 356 people, mostly Africans, rescued in the Mediterranean off Libya is closing in on two weeks at sea without being assigned a safe port to offload the traumatized passengers. Now charity workers decry that situation as "the new normal" as Europe fails to devise a systematic response.

Jay Berger, project coordinator for Doctors Without Borders on the Ocean Viking, said by satellite phone Thursday that "it's a complete shame. It is inhumane ... There needs to be concrete action. This is not how people should be treated."

The Ocean Viking conducted four rescues off Libya from Aug. 9-12, and is in its 13th day without being permitted to disembark the rescued people, as dictated by maritime law. The ship, with a stated capacity of 200 passengers, has been sailing between the Italian island of Linosa and Malta, staying out of sight of land.

Berger said the passengers are becoming increasingly concerned that they will be taken back to Libya, where many suffered torture and detention.

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