Sunday, 24 June, 2018

Row over ship with 600 migrants aboard adrift off Italy

Humanitarian group SOS Mediterranee said there were 123 minors on board the Aquarius ship Humanitarian group SOS Mediterranee said there were 123 minors on board the Aquarius ship
Lisa Bryan | 12 June, 2018, 03:37

It is in large part down to the country's new populist government, made up of the Five Star Movement and the League, which is anti-immigration.

Malta's ports will not take in the Acquarius vessel with hundreds of migrants and asylum seekers on board, which has been stranded in the Mediterranean after the Italian authorities had refused to accept it.

Moreover, Chochetel said that "fundamentally, the principle of rescue at sea must not be put into doubt through incidents like this".

"VICTORY! 629 migrants on board of Aquarius ship, Spain-bound, our first goal has been reached!" he wrote on Facebook.

The French organization SOS Mediterranee said the ship was carrying 629 migrants picked up in the Mediterranean on Saturday, including 123 unaccompanied minors and seven pregnant women.

The mayors of Naples and Reggio Calabria - two coastal cities in mainland Italy - also said they would allow the ship to dock.

Migrants prepare to board the rescue ship Aquarius in the Mediterranean Sea, June 11, 2018. It said some passengers had seawater in their lungs as well as chemical burns caused when gasoline mixes with seawater. "The situation is stable but it can not run" forever.

"I wish I had tens of slaps like these", Salvini said.

Europe should recognize that Italy needs greater support to ensure a humane approach to migrants and to protect refugees, but also be willing to insist that Italy's government respect human rights. "We will not stop now", Leoluca Orlando, the mayor of Palermo, said.

Italy's interior ministry were unable to confirm the existence of the letter and said officials were still trying to confirm the existence of the letter.

"Evidently raising your voice, something Italy did not do for years, pays", Salvini said. All passengers were offloaded to the Aquarius to be taken to land.

On Sunday, when Italy told the Aquarius not to proceed to ports in Sicily, Salvini first pushed Malta to accept the vessel, saying that the tiny European Union island country - in the middle of the Central Mediterranean migration corridor - routinely closes its doors.


In a statement issued Monday afternoon, the Spanish government said that "The prime minister has given instructions so that Spain can fulfil its worldwide humanitarian crisis commitments and has announced that the Aquarius will be welcomed into a Spanish port".

Increasing safe returns for migrants to their countries after fair and efficient procedures is a reasonable policy objective. Some 400 of the migrants were rescued by the Italian Navy, the Italian coastguard and merchant vessels before being transferred to the Aquarius. France and Spain have previously said it's not their job either. "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 news channel Sky TG24 on Sunday.

The Sea Watch 3 and Aquarius both remain at sea. "He is now out of danger", Beversluis said.

"All the survivors are exhausted and dehydrated because they spent many hours adrift in these boats", he said.

Nearly a quarter of the migrant survivors hail from Sudan, the group said.

"Thank you, Lord", the women sang.

The League promised voters during Italy's general election that it would take a tough stance on immigration, the BBC reported.

Its far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini showed no sign of backing down on Monday.

In a statement late Sunday after speaking with his Italian counterpart, Muscat refused to let the ship dock in a Maltese port, but said Malta will conduct emergency medical evacuations if necessary.

Some in Italy have offered to take in migrants.

"Italy has stopped bowing its head and obeying, this time THERE ARE THOSE WHO SAY NO", he tweeted Monday. "This time we say no".

Italy has always been a destination for migrants crossing the Mediterranean and has been dealing with a surge in arrivals in recent years.

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