The Open Arms ship, managed by an NGO of the same name, had been waiting in the central Mediterranean with nearly 100 migrants, largely from Africa, to be allowed port on Lampedusa.
However, the Italian government, under Interior Minister Matteo Salvini -- the leader of the country's anti-immigrant party -- has not allowed private migrant rescue ships to dock in Italian ports. And the Open Arms refused to move elsewhere.
Minors and those needing medical treatment were eventually taken to the shore, but nearly 100 people remained on board. After more than two weeks on the ship, some migrants chose to jump overboard this week, attempting to swim to shore.
They were rescued by Italian coastguard operations.
The migrants were finally allowed to leave the ship on Tuesday night, after Luigi Patronaggio, a prosecutor from Agrigento, Sicily, who has had Salvini under investigation for his harsh migrant policies, boarded the ship, met with port authorities, and ordered the seizure of the ship, according to The Associated Press.
The permission to land also came after five European Union nations -- Spain, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Portugal -- agreed to be the ones to actually take in the migrants, according to Reuters.
"And finally, after 19 captive days on the deck of a ship, all of the people on board will walk on hard land," Open Arms tweeted in Spanish, along with a video of people apparently on the ship hugging and celebrating.
Y por fin, después de 19 días cautivos en la cubierta de un barco, todas las personas a bordo pisarán tierra firme.— Open Arms (@openarms_fund) August 20, 2019
The NGO added in another tweet that there were 83 people aboard and that they would be receiving immediate assistance on Lampedusa.
🔴🔴#ULTIMAHORA 🔴🔴— Open Arms (@openarms_fund) August 20, 2019
La fiscalía de Agrigento dictamina desembarco inmediato de todas las personas a bordo #OpenArms en el puerto de #Lampedusa y la incautación provisional del barco.
Por fin,se acaba la pesadilla y las 83 personas a bordo recibirán asistencia inmediata en tierra pic.twitter.com/z4rYtTmtP0
Salvini, who took office last summer, did not appear cowed. He livestreamed a video of himself on Facebook discussing the Open Arms ship, with a caption referencing past investigations of his migrant policies.
"I am not afraid," he said in part in Italian, "[but] proud to defend the borders and security of my country."
The arrivals came as tensions between Salvini and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte reached a head, fueled in part by the Open Arms crisis. Among other disagreements, Conte had urged Salvini to "urgently adopt the necessary measures to ensure assistance and protection for minors present in the boat," according to CNN.
Last week, Conte said in an open letter that Salvini was "obsessive" about closing ports to migrants.
After an apparent power play by Salvini calling for a non-confidence vote in Conte and for new elections, Conte resigned Tuesday, criticizing Salvini along the way.
Conte has been asked to stay on as a caretaker in the prime minister role, according to Reuters, as the government attempts to put itself back together and avoid an early election.
In the meantime, people are still attempting to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has called on Italy to change its policies and allow rescue ships to dock.
At least 576 people have died so far this year trying to cross the sea on the Central Mediterranean route to Italy, according to the International Organization for Migration's latest report through Aug. 4. Last year, the UNHCR found that while fewer people are attempting to make the crossing, it had become deadlier.
Another showdown is brewing, too: the Ocean Viking, a rescue ship operated by two French humanitarian groups, according to the AP, is sailing between Malta and the Italian island of Linosa with 356 people on-board, awaiting permission to land.
🔴 Today marks the 12th day since the #OceanViking completed its first rescue.— MSF Sea (@MSF_Sea) August 21, 2019
356 survivors are still stranded in the Central #Mediterranean.
On deck, anxiety grows: "Why are we not moving?", "Are we going back to #Libya?"
They must be taken to a place of #safety now! pic.twitter.com/RBE6Fr62hB
After the Ocean Arms landed, the European Union's executive Commission asked states to agree to take migrants from that ship in, Reuters reported Wednesday.