Published: Thu, June 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Spain offers to take in drifting migrant ship Aquarius

Spain offers to take in drifting migrant ship Aquarius

The ICMP seeks to get governments to help identify the dead and missing from conflicts, natural disasters, organized crime and migration.

The ship called Aquarius rescued around 230 migrants on Saturday and more than 400 were transferred to the ship by Italian military and merchant ships in the area.

Speaking to news channel Sky TG24, Aquarius crew member Alessandro Porro said that they were north of Malta and had "received no communications from the Maltese authorities".

The closing of Italy's ports to Aquarius represented the first test of the populist government's rhetoric, and Italy stood firm, despite outcry from the European Union and the United Nations.

"At this time the Aquarius, the biggest rescue boat in the Mediterranean, is going far from its rescue zone", she told AFP.

The rescue ship Aquarius has been stuck since Saturday in global waters off the coast of Italy and Malta, both of which have denied it entry.

Since Sanchez announced that Spain would accept the boat, several Spanish regions have offered to take in the new arrivals.

The rescue ship was stranded this weekend after Italy and Malta refused to allow it to dock.

Malta has refused to take in the Aquarius.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who is due to meet Macron in Paris this Friday, shot back.

Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat posted a thank-you tweet that also blamed Italy for the ship's prolonged journey.

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Italy has called on Mediterranean neighbour, the island of Malta, to open its doors to the vessel. "We will have to sit down and discuss how to prevent this from happening again", he added.

The new prime minister said Spain was welcoming the Aquarius out of the "duty to avoid a humanitarian disaster", the AP reports.

The French organisation said that among those saved and brought on board are 123 unaccompanied minors, 11 small children and seven pregnant women. Crisis appeared to have been averted this afternoon after Spain's new president Pedro Sanches offered to take the ship to Valencia, citing his country's humanitarian obligations.

The Italian government is insisting that Malta takes in 629 migrants that were rescued near Libya on Sunday morning, saying that its ports were closed.

"Forty people have been recovered and are being provided food, water, and medical care on board Trenton".

Others have burns from boat fuel mixed with seawater or are suffering from hypothermia.

League far-right party leader Matteo Salvini joins his hands during a press conference held at the League headquarter in Milan on March 5, 2018 ahead of the Italy's general election results.

The charities said the migrants were picked up in six different rescue operations and that hundreds of them had been delivered to the Aquarius by Italian navy ships that were patrolling the waters off Libya. The ship, carrying more than 600 people, has been unable to dock.

Malta has accused Italy of violating global norms by instructing a migrant rescue ship with 629 people aboard to stay at sea while a diplomatic standoff plays out over where it can dock.

Pictures issued by SOS Mediterranée showed hundreds of Africans huddled on board, including a young girl wrapped in a blanket in the arms of a rescue worker. Valencia is 700 nautical miles (about 1,300 kilometres) from point between Malta and Italy where humanitarian boat is now.

Sea-Watch said police also questioned some of the rescued migrants who, after being processed by the authorities, are likely to end up in reception centers.

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