Defiant charity to continue Aquarius migrant rescues

Friday, 15 Jun, 2018

The Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez said he would give the ship "safe harbour" and that he wanted to help avoid a humanitarian emergency.

The standoff continued on Monday between Italy and Malta over more than 600 migrants who are adrift aboard a rescue ship in the Mediterranean and waiting to find out if they will be allowed to dock in a port soon.

European charity, SOS Méditerranée, said the group of sub-Saharan Africans were picked up in six different rescue operations off the coast of Libya.

Sanchez went on say that "It is our duty to help avoid a humanitarian catastrophe and offer a safe harbour to these people in accordance with worldwide law".

While thanking Spain for their offer of help, the Maltese Prime minister said Italy had broken worldwide rules and that there was a need to sit down with European partners to avoid an incident like this from happening again.

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The NGO was blocked from docking by Italy's new anti-immigrant interior minister, Matteo Salvini, who argued that people plucked from the Mediterranean should not all end up on his country's shores.

Following Italy's decision, Malta also said it would not accept the ship either so it remained in standby between the two countries for days. Meanwhile Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli, a member of M5S and the minister in charge of the Italian coast guard, said that "this time everyone has to understand that worldwide law can not mean that Italy should be abandoned".

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"My comment is that it's always okay when the one who made you cry first then makes you laugh", Salah said. No, 2-0, both goals by Ronaldo", he concluded.

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David Beversluis, said there were no medical emergencies onboard but one passenger had to be revived after he was rescued. Italy argued that Malta should accept the Aquarius because Malta was the safest, closest port to the ship.

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The other two top 10 causes of death that are on the rise are Alzheimer's disease and drug overdoses, she noted. It was lowest in the U.S. capital, Washington, with 6.9 suicides per 100,000 residents per year.

The 629 migrants, including pregnant women and scores of children, were saved by SOS Mediterranee on Saturday.

Aquarius, the vessel which is operated jointly by Medecine Sans Frontiers (MSF) and SOS Medeterranee, received a Spain's offer on Monday to dock at Valencia after being more than 24 hours on standby between Sicilia and Malta. "From today, Italy will also start to say no to human trafficking, no to the business of illegal immigration", he wrote on Facebook. "The coastguard and navy can continue to save lives, but other countries need to keep giving us a hand".

The migrant influx has led to a populist backlash, with Salvini vowing to prevent Italy from becoming the "refugee camp of Europe".

Malta is insisting its stand is in line with its global obligations that state any rescued people should be taken to the closest, safest port of call.

"MSF calls for people's safety to come before politics".

European Union leaders in December had set an end-of-June deadline for an overhaul of rules to create a permanent mechanism to deal with migrants in the event of a new emergency.

"If anyone thinks I won't move a muscle while we have another summer of landings, landings and more landings, well that's not what I'm going to do", Salvini told reporters.

That has put pressure on Italy and Greece, the entry points for the hundreds of thousands of people fleeing war and poverty at home to seek a new life in Europe.