June 21, 2018

Spain accepts 629 stranded migrants after Italy and Malta refused them

13 June 2018, 12:49 | Marta Robbins

Italy shuts ports to migrant boat, asks Malta to open its doors

Italy turns away ship carrying over 600 migrants

Euronews correspondent Anelise Borges said the group consisted of 90 migrants, with more than 400 people remaining to be transferred according to an initial plan.

Both the ship and its passengers were caught up in a political dispute that might not have happened weeks ago.

The outgoing Democratic Party government had already intensified cooperation with Libyan authorities to stop departures and enable Libyan coast guard forces to intercept migrant boats in worldwide waters and take people back to horrific conditions in arbitrary detention in Libya. It added that the Aquarius "is still waiting for definitive instructions regarding the port of safety".

After slamming Mr Simeoni over his offer to help the migrants, Mr Ciotti took a swipe at Madrid, saying that Spain had made a "mistake" by saying that the drifting ship could dock at one of its ports.

On Monday, Spain said it would allow the ship, which is carrying more than 120 unaccompanied minors and six pregnant women, to dock in Valencia.

Where were the migrants rescued from?

He says Malta would send fresh supplies to The Aquarius.

"The situation is stable but it can not run" on forever, Laurent said.

File Image of MV Aquarius, a search and rescue ship. Many are suffering from fuel burns as a result, and most are dehydrated. Earlier, a spokesperson for Macron's party, Gabriel Attal, said on a TV show that "the line of the Italian government is nauseating". Like the Aquarius, the Sea-Watch 3 rescued migrants in the waters off Libya, where human smugglers are based and asylum-hopefuls have reported torture, beatings, rape and scarce rations in migrant detention centers.

Porro said: "At the moment we are like an ambulance that has been stopped and we don't know where to go".

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There was, he said, a "need for face up, in a united and coordinated manner, to a problem that is a problem for all, and not just for Greece one year and for Italy the next". "So as we raised the issue for the Aquarius we will do so for all other ships".

Even as Italy worked to dispatch the charity ship, an Italian Coast Guard vessel with 937 migrants aboard was heading north from the Libyan coast and was expected to dock in Sicily on Wednesday.

Spain's offer is "important news, since it signals a turning point", Di Maio said.

Italy's new right-wing interior minister, Matteo Salvini, has vowed to close Italian ports to rescue ships following the arrival of hundreds of thousands of migrants in recent years.

More than 600 people are stuck aboard the ship Aquarius, run by a French charity, which is now waiting between Malta and Italy while the two countries row over who should take responsibility.

"The duty of a democratic government is not to look away" in a humanitarian crisis, said Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau, who also offered her port as a potential solution to the standoff.

Italy and Malta are the closest ports to Libya.

Maltese Premier Joseph Muscat accused Italy of violating global norms governing sea rescues and said the government's stance risked "creating a risky situation for all those involved".

Italy did, however, get the backing of Hungary. He hailed Spain's decision as a "gesture of solidarity" on behalf of the European Union.

On Monday, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, a socialist who took power less than two weeks ago, said that the ship could dock in the eastern port of Valencia, where it is now headed. "Thank you, Lord", the women sang.

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