Nearly 200 migrants and refugees rescued by a humanitarian aid boat in the Mediterranean Sea began to leave the vessel in Sicily late on Monday after spending nine days on the ship.

The migrants regained dry land at Porto Empedocle on the Italian island’s western coast.

Police escorted them a short distance to another vessel, where they will be quarantined to prevent the possible spread of coronavirus.

The arrival of the rescue vessel chartered by charity group SOS Mediterranee capped a tense few days on board marked by migrants jumping overboard, a suicide attempt and bouts of violence.

After being rescued in four separate operations on June 25 and 30, the refugees and migrants waiting on the ship became increasingly agitated, according to SOS Mediterranee, as the charity awaited the go-ahead from either Italy or Malta to dock at a safe port.

However, approval did not arrive until Sunday, after the group declared a state of emergency on board, adding it could no longer guarantee the safety of the migrants or crew.

Rising tension culminated in fights between migrants frustrated by the long waiting period and their inability to call their families to let them know they were safe.

One migrant tried to hang himself and two others jumped overboard, the charity said.