European Union and United Nations urge Italy, Malta to accept drifting migrant boat

European Union and United Nations urge Italy, Malta to accept drifting migrant boat

Both governments refused to allow the ship to dock, before Spain offered it safe port on Monday afternoon "to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe".

A bitter row broke out between Italy and Malta at the weekend over which country should take in the Aquarius rescue boat, which picked up the migrants on Saturday and Sunday.

Both Italy and Malta had come under increasing worldwide pressure to allow the migrant rescue ship to dock, and they continued to argue over who was responsible.

The rescue service says its patrol craft intercepted six different boats carrying migrants that had left from African shores throughout Saturday. "It is our obligation to avoid a human catastrophe and offer a safe haven to these people, fulfilling that way the obligations of global law", his government said in a statement.

The Council of Europe welcomed Spain's move, with the organization's Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatovic, tweeting: "Saving lives at sea is an obligation that states must always uphold".

Italy and Malta held firm despite the heavy diplomatic pressure, with Italy's new interior minister, Matteo Salvini, clearly using the high seas drama as a pretext to force the hand of Italy's European neighbours.

The ship, which was located in worldwide waters between Malta and Italy, is carrying 629 people on board, with reports of the vessel only having enough food to last one day.

"This plan would mean already exhausted rescued people would endure 4 more days travel at sea", Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said on Twitter.

SOS Mediterranee said the Aquarius had enough supplies to feed the migrants at least for another day.

"Saving lives is a duty, turning Italy into a huge refugee camp is not".

The official, who asked not to be identified, said that Italy would not open its ports to the Aquarius.

"Our sole objective is to bring the people we've rescued, in hard conditions yesterday, to a port of safety", the group said in a statement.

"The boat is now heading north towards a secure port", SOS Mediterranee tweeted on Sunday without specifying its destination, though virtually every such migrant boat over the past five years has ended up in Italy.

The 629 migrants - including 123 unaccompanied minors and several pregnant women - were onboard the Aquarius, operated by the charity SOS Mediterranee.

In a statement issued Monday, the International Chamber of Shipping warned that refusing port access to vessels like the Aquarius could have "serious implications for the safety and welfare of these distressed people, including children and pregnant women".

Under EU rules, migrants must apply for asylum in the European country where they first arrive.

The summer of 2016 saw a surge in mass drownings in the Mediterranean as Europe's worst migration crisis since World War II peaked with hundreds of thousands of people fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top The Duchess of Sussex and the Queen arrive in Cheshire
Jun 15, 2018 - 00:48
Her replacement, Matthew Magee, also joined them on the trip, along with Meghan's private secretary Amy Pickerill. The new Duchess of Sussex stood behind her sister-in-law, Kate Middleton , and brother-in-law, Prince William .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Merits of splitting California into 3 debated
Jun 14, 2018 - 07:30
The new California would retain Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Monterey and San Benito counties. The initiative was spearheaded by a venture capitalist who says regional communities would function better.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Kim Jong-un lands in Singapore for U.S. summit
Jun 14, 2018 - 07:26
The official media had reported that the two leaders plan to meet, but offered few specifics, including where and when. Egypt Today brings you the latest top of the hour news from around the world over the past 24 hours in this round-up.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Kim summit drew global reaction, with many expressing cautious hope
Jun 13, 2018 - 13:47
But the South Carolina Republican said Trump would face opposition to any move to withdraw American forces from South Korea . But Tuesday's summit in Singapore was front page news on Wednesday, with multiple images of Mr Kim alongside Mr Trump.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top The Elder Scrolls VI and Starfield announced at Bethesda E3 conference
Jun 13, 2018 - 13:45
That's not it for Elder Scrolls content, however, because Bethesda also revealed mobile spin-off TES Blades . This comes from an interview that Todd Howard gave to Geoff Keighley the day after Bethesda's showcase.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top What the Supreme Court Voter Purge Ruling Means
Jun 13, 2018 - 13:40
Harmon's lawyers at Demos, a liberal think-tank, and the American Civil Liberties Union wrote in a Supreme Court brief. Belladona-Carrera says she anxious the ruling will be used by lawmakers in more states to adopt the OH system.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Italy, Malta must allow disembarkation of stranded migrants
Jun 12, 2018 - 01:33
The rescuers say those on board Acquarius include 123 unaccompanied minors, 11 children, and 7 pregnant women. It added that the Aquarius "is still waiting for definitive instructions regarding the port of safety".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top ‘Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind’ HBO Documentary - First Trailer Out
Jun 10, 2018 - 02:02
Robin Williams committed suicide at his home in Marin County on August 11, 2014. Robin Williams was a complex comedian both onstage and off stage.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top At a fashion show, Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spade remembered
Jun 10, 2018 - 01:48
A few days ago fashion designer Kate Spade also committed suicide, with her husband declaring he did not know she was at risk. Mary's Medical Center in Huntington, says signs can be hard to see but if you look closely, you can find some telling signs.

Trump issues warning to trade partners over retaliatory tariffs
Jun 10, 2018 - 01:48
But short of that, he also pledged the USA would raise its own trade barriers to combat unfair trade practices around the world. Trump pulled out of President Barack Obama's landmark nuclear accord with Iran over the objections of European allies.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Rafael Nadal reaches record 11th French Open final
Jun 09, 2018 - 20:30
Del Potro missed another chance at 2-0 in the second set and from that point there was only going to be one victor . Now he will face Thiem - the only player to beat him on clay in the past two years - in Sunday's final.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Steve Kerr: Stephen Curry fine with Kevin Durant as MVP
Jun 09, 2018 - 20:29
I had emotions that you just don't get an opportunity like this on the road against Golden State to be able to get a Game 1". Smith grabbed a late rebound with the score level but dribbled away from the basket , thinking the Cavaliers led.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trump calls for end to Russian expulsion from G7
Jun 09, 2018 - 20:28
Velshi picked up on the "you're not more important to me because you're an ally" aspect of what Trump is doing on trade. Putin pointed out that Trump has been implementing the promises he made during his election campaign.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Adds 20 more Premier League matches to line-up from the 2019/20 season
Jun 08, 2018 - 05:06
It's also the latest addition to Amazon's local sports portfolio, after it purchased the rights to the US Open back in April . Though Amazon may have gotten a discount , its Premier League price tag would still likely hit nine figures in USA dollars.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Commerce Secretary: US reaches deal with China's ZTE
Jun 08, 2018 - 04:46
The U.S. threatened sanctions, but ZTE promised to change its practices and punish the executives responsible for its misconduct. Shares of Qualcomm Inc rose as much as 4.7 percent while NXP jumped as much as 6.7 percent.