Refugee Crisis: Spain offers ship bearth as Italy, Malta refuse

Refugee Crisis: Spain offers ship bearth as Italy, Malta refuse

Malta also blocked the boat access to its shores, before Spain yesterday agreed to welcome the migrants. Those incidents delayed the migrants' arrival, but they ultimately made it to Italy.

While thanking Spain for their offer of help, the Maltese Prime minister said Italy had broken global rules and that there was a need to sit down with European partners to avoid an incident like this from happening again.

The Spanish government said it would accept the ship at the port of Valencia. "It's primarily saying that Italy can not be left alone in dealing with so many migrants", he said in an interview.

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.

"We don't yet have any information about the departure time", the charity's Marseille-based spokeswoman Laura Garel told Agence France-Presse, adding that the journey from Maltese waters to Valencia would take at least three days. "We need to have an idea of what port to go to, something that up to now we haven't had", Aquarius crew member Alessandro Porro told Sky TG24 on Sunday.

Italy and Malta refused to let the ship dock. On Monday new president of Spanish Government, socialist Pedro Sanchez, offered option Valencia.

The Aquarius took on the migrants from human traffickers' boats in the Mediterranean Sea on Saturday.

Malta's government replied saying Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had spoken to Italian premier Giuseppe Conte and underlined "that Malta is acting in full conformity with its worldwide obligations".

In a move reminiscent of Australia's contentious asylum seeker policy, Italy's newly sworn-in, popularist government says it will refuse to allow a ship carrying more than 600 migrants to dock at its ports. The ship has 629 migrants including 123 unaccompanied minors, 11 children and six pregnant women.

Finally, 629 migrants rescued on Saturday night to Sunday in worldwide waters against Libya will go to Spain, to port of Valencia, as confirmed this Tuesday at around six in morning coordinator of Doctors Without Borders aboard Aquarius.

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

Hundreds of those were initially plucked from the sea by the Italian navy.

Despite the diplomatic pressure, Italy and Malta held firm, with Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini clearly using the high seas drama as a pretext to force the hand of Italy's European neighbours.

The tiny island nation with fewer than a half a million inhabitants says it already accepts more refugees per capita than Italy, which has taken in more than 600,000 boat migrants since 2014. Merchant vessels have diverted from their commercial voyages to rescue more than 50,000 people in the Mediterranean since 2015.

Home Affairs Minister Matteo Salvini told Italian media that a second humanitarian ship, the Sea Watch 3, which is now navigating off the Libyan coast, will not be allowed into Italian ports, if and when it is involved in a migrant rescue operation.

The NGOs suggested that the hundreds on board "are running out of provisions". "Given the boat's location, it is between Italy and Malta".

Cochetel also urged other governments to support countries like Italy and Malta who are taking in thousands of sea rescues. This morning, Italy is preparing to take supplies to humanitarian ship. "The Mediterranean is the sea of all the countries that face it, and it (Malta) can't imagine that Italy will continue to face this giant phenomenon in solitude".

The legal situation regarding who should take responsibility was, however, "not at all clear", said Natasha Bertaud, a European Commission spokeswoman for migration.

Malta is accusing 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. Salvini doubled down on his position earlier on Monday, warning another rescue ship, the Sea Watch 3, registered in the Netherlands and operated by a German charity, that it may not be allowed to dock in Italy if it picks up migrants off Libya, where it is now sailing.

Earlier, Malta said in a statement that the Aquarius took on the passengers in waters controlled by Libya and where Italian authorities in Rome coordinate search-and-rescue operations.

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