Spain says France to take in Aquarius ship migrants

Pauline Gross
June 19, 2018

The ship is making the 1,500-kilometer (930-mile) voyage to Spain accompanied by Italian coast guard vessels, which have taken on board some of the migrants.

Upon arrival in Valencia, migrants were given preliminary health checks and then began to disembark as Spanish authorities started working on collecting details on their identities.

They will be taken to an Italian port that has yet to be assigned, sources said.

On Valencia's quayside, 1000 Red Cross workers were on hand to greet the migrants as they stepped off the ship. In a Facebook post Saturday, Salvini said Lifeline and the Seefuchs ship of the German group Sea-Eye couldn't dock in Italy.

It showed that 68 percent of Italians feel Salvini has done well to "raise his voice" because in this way the rest of Europe would take heed of Italy's worry that it could become what he has called "one big refugee camp".

Sea Watch refused last week to take 40 migrants rescued by the U.S. navy ship Trenton off Libya, fearing a fate similar to that of the Aquarius.

Italy's new interior minister, Matteo Salvini, thanked Spain for taking in the migrants who reached Valencia and said he wished the country would take in "66,629 more".

"They are very shaken", Suarez said.

A crew member of MV Open Arms, the search and rescue ship of Proactiva Open Arms, carries a migrant baby before passing it to crew members of MV Aquarius, a search and rescue ship run in partnership between SOS Mediterranee and Medecins Sans Frontieres, during a mid-sea transfer of migrants in the central Mediterranean off the coast of Libya, Dec. 16, 2017.

France - who had angered Rome by branding it irresponsible over the vessel rejection - offered Thursday to welcome Aquarius migrants who "meet the criteria for asylum".

"We celebrate that rescued people are finally in a safe place, where they will be assisted with dignity", he said. "These people could not be left drifting in the Mediterranean, where they faced death".

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"People are coming forward for everything: serving as translators, providing accommodation", said Johnson Tamayo, a 51-year-old artist and Red Cross volunteer.

More than 120 unaccompanied minors and seven pregnant women are among those who have spent days crossing the western Mediterranean, according to officials in Valencia.

The Italian Government ship Dattilo (pictured top right) docked at the Spanish port of Valencia at 7am local time today.

They also counted 41 migrants who were taken aboard a U.S. Navy vessel on June 12, survivors of a sunken dinghy.

They come from 26 countries, mainly from Africa but also Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, according to Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

He said Paris' offer to take in some migrants "in need of protection" is meant both to show French cooperation with Spain and to "encourage. a coordinated response among European Union member states" for all challenges linked to migration.

Some 600,000 rescued migrants have arrived in Italy in recent years.

Spain's new Socialist government has taken up the cause of the migrants' plight to demonstrate its commitment to protecting human rights and respecting global law.

The exchange of barbs took place a day after Italy and France tried to bury the hatchet following a diplomatic squabble over Rome's refusal to accept the Aquarius.

The number of people fleeing poverty and conflict by boat to Spain doubled in 2017.

Other reports by GizPress

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