Spain to Take Migrants After Italy Turns Away the Ship ‘Aquarius’

Doctors Without Borders have been shuttling migrants from North Africa to Europe with the ship Aquarius. Trying to dump them on Italy

Matteo Salvini, Italy’s far-right interior minister, has declared victory after a standoff over the fate of 629 people on a humanitarian rescue boat prompted Spain to agree to accept them.

The impasse, after the populist and far-right government in Italy refused to allow the MS Aquarius to dock over the weekend, suggested that Europe could face a humanitarian crisis this summer as it comes to grips with the new Italian government’s hardline approach to refugees and migrants.

Salvini blocked the ship from Italian ports and said it should go to Malta instead. Malta refused, saying it had nothing to do with a rescue mission overseen by the Italian coastguard in waters off Libya.

“We have opened a front in Brussels,” said Salvini, who became interior minister last week. “We are contacting the European commission so that it can fulfil its duties towards Italy that have never been respected.”

With the UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, urging the urgent disembarkation of all 629 people on board, including 100 children, as provisions ran out, Pedro Sánchez, Spain’s new prime minister, gave permission for the MS Aquarius to dock in Valencia. He said his country would welcome those on…

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