Aquarius docks in Malta

Crew members of the search and rescue vessel 'Aquarius' of NGO 'SOS Mediterranee' wave from the ship's in the port of Marseille, France, 29 June 2018. EPA-EFE/GUILLAUME HORCAJUELO

Aquarius docks in Malta


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Malta agreed to let the Aquarius humanitarian ship to dock on Tuesday, following an agreement to share the rescued migrants between five EU member states.

The five countries sharing the migrants are France, Germany, Luxembourg, Portugal and Spain.

141 migrants disembarked in Malta on Tuesday. They had been rescued off the coast of Libya in international waters on Sunday.

An additional 114 migrants were rescued at sea on Monday, according to the Maltese government.

European Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said on Tuesday that Europe needs to find a long-term solution, ending “ad hoc arrangements.”

On Monday the Italian government, once again,  denied the Aquarius access to Italian ports.  “It can go where it wants, (but) not to Italy! Stop human being traffickers and accomplices, #portsclosed and #openhearts,” Interior Minister Matteo Salvini Twitted.

Spain also denied the NGO ship docking rights.  Spain is not the nearest and, therefore, the safest port according to international law.

Italy has called on Britain to welcome the Aquarius because it is registered in Gibraltar, but authorities on the rock denied the NGO vessel docking. Moreover, the Gibraltar government says that the ship can no longer fly a Gibraltar flag from August 20 and should revert back to the “underlying owners’ flag,” which is Germany.

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