News 12.6.2018 09:40 am

Italy rejects hundreds of migrants

A handout picture taken in the search and rescue zone in the Mediterranean sea on June 9, 2018 and released on June 11, 2018 by SOS Mediterranee NGO shows migrants being rescued before boarding the French NGO's ship Aquarius.
The EU on June 11, 2018 called on Italy and Malta to reach a "swift resolution" to allow the Aquarius, a search and rescue ship run in partnership between "SOS Mediterranee" and Doctors without borders (MSF), carrying hundreds of migrants to dock, saying it was a "humanitarian imperative". Some 629 people, including pregnant women and scores of children, were saved by SOS Mediterranean on JUne 9 and are stuck aboard the French NGO's ship Aquarius, which is currently between Malta and Sicily waiting for a secure port. / AFP PHOTO / SOS MEDITERRANEE / Karpov / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / KARPOV / SOS MEDITERRANEE" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

A handout picture taken in the search and rescue zone in the Mediterranean sea on June 9, 2018 and released on June 11, 2018 by SOS Mediterranee NGO shows migrants being rescued before boarding the French NGO's ship Aquarius. The EU on June 11, 2018 called on Italy and Malta to reach a "swift resolution" to allow the Aquarius, a search and rescue ship run in partnership between "SOS Mediterranee" and Doctors without borders (MSF), carrying hundreds of migrants to dock, saying it was a "humanitarian imperative". Some 629 people, including pregnant women and scores of children, were saved by SOS Mediterranean on JUne 9 and are stuck aboard the French NGO's ship Aquarius, which is currently between Malta and Sicily waiting for a secure port. / AFP PHOTO / SOS MEDITERRANEE / Karpov / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / KARPOV / SOS MEDITERRANEE" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

The 629 migrants, including pregnant women and scores of children, will be taken to Spain.

Hundreds of migrants stranded aboard the Aquarius rescue vessel in the Mediterranean will be transferred to Italian ships and taken to Spain, French charity SOS Mediterranee said Tuesday.

The 629 migrants, including pregnant women and scores of children, were saved by SOS Mediterranee on Saturday.

The Aquarius rescue vessel was, however, caught in a dramatic standoff over the weekend that saw Italy and Malta refuse to allow it to dock.

A handout picture taken in the search and rescue zone in the Mediterranean sea during the night from June 9, 2018 to June 10 and released on June 11, 2018 by SOS Mediterranee NGO shows migrants being rescued before boarding the French NGO’s ship Aquarius. Picture: AFP Photo.

“Supplies will be received shortly from an Italian vessel on to #Aquarius. Plan from MRCC [the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre] Rome is that rescued people will later be transferred on Italian ships before heading together to” the eastern Spanish port of Valencia, the charity said on Twitter.

The development comes a day after the new Spanish government headed by Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez offered to allow the Aquarius to dock in Valencia, insisting it was an “obligation” to do so.

READ MORE: Immigration in Italy: facts and myths ahead of election

The refusal to accept the Aquarius in Italy was the first major antimigrant move since far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini took office this month.

Authorities on the French island of Corsica also offered to host the migrants, the morning after SOS Mediterranee raised fears that the Aquarius would not be able to reach Spain safely because of deteriorating weather conditions.

Aid workers had also warned that food and drink supplied by the Maltese navy to the migrants would only last until Tuesday.

A handout picture taken in the search and rescue zone in the Mediterranean sea on June 9, 2018 and released on June 11, 2018 by SOS Mediterranee NGO shows the French NGO’s ship Aquarius during an operation to rescue migrants.
The EU on June 11, 2018, called on Italy and Malta to reach a “swift resolution” to allow the Aquarius, a search and rescue ship run in partnership between “SOS Mediterranee” and Doctors without borders (MSF), carrying hundreds of migrants to dock, saying it was a “humanitarian imperative”. Picture: AFP Photo

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