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Spain: We'll Take Migrants From Ship 2 Countries Rejected

But it's not clear the ship can make the journey
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 11, 2018 11:10 AM CDT
This undated photo shows migrants about to board the Aquarius ship in the Mediterranean Sea.   (Kenny Karpov/SOS Mediterranee via AP)

(Newser) – Spain has come to the aid of a ship that was left drifting with no destination after both Italy and Malta refused to take the migrants it's carrying. The Aquarius rescued the 629 migrants, who include 123 unaccompanied minors, 11 other children, and seven pregnant women among them, from inflatable boats and rafts off the coast of Libya over the weekend. But after Italy's new far-right interior minister said it couldn't dock, and then Malta said the migrants were Italy's responsibility since Italy's coast guard oversaw the rescue, the ship was running out of provisions. More than 15 migrants were also in need of medical care, CNN reports. Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, in office for little more than a week, said the boat would be admitted to his country. The mayors of two Spanish cities had also offered to receive the boat, Reuters reports.

"It is our duty to help avoid a humanitarian catastrophe and offer a safe port to these people, to comply with our human rights obligations," his office said in a statement. Sanchez, a Socialist who took over after the previous conservative leader was ousted from office over a corruption scandal, made history shortly after taking office by appointing a majority female Cabinet; the "young," "dashing," and "handsome" leader has been compared to Justin Trudeau. As for the Aquarius, it's unclear whether it has enough fuel and supplies for the 800-mile trip to Spain; it's also unclear whether the ship is free to go there, as it must obey the commands of an arm of the Italian coast guard. Per the Guardian, the Aquarius says it hasn't yet received instructions to go to Spain. (Read more migrants stories.)

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