A supply near the Spanish authorities advised CNN that the migrants on board the Aquarius can be given a 15-day allow to remain, throughout which they might be capable to begin the method of searching for asylum.
Left to float for 2 days within the waters between the Italian and Maltese coasts, the Aquarius search-and-rescue vessel has turn out to be the newest image of the migration disaster within the Mediterranean.
It began with a single tweet of simply 16 characters and escalated right into a diplomatic scorching potato that has pitted Europe’s international locations towards each other.
The Aquarius rescued 630 individuals whereas on patrol off the coast of Libya over the weekend, the ship’s operators SOS Méditerranée and Medical doctors With out Borders (MSF) mentioned. With greater than 120 unaccompanied minors and 6 pregnant girls on board, the ship was then directed to journey north seeking a protected harbor by the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Heart (IMRCC).
The vessel’s journey got here to an abrupt halt when the Italian Coast Guard advised Aquarius to carry its place, the help teams mentioned.
Matteo Salvini, Italy’s new hardline inside minister and chief of the anti-immigration League celebration, refused to permit it to dock, tweeting the hashtag #chiudiamoiporti (“Shut the doorways”).
He additionally advised stopping a second foreign-flagged search-and-rescue vessel, Sea-Watch 3, operated by a bunch of German volunteers and presently positioned off the coast of Libya, from docking. On Tuesday morning, the ship recovered 41 survivors and 12 our bodies from a shipwreck off the Libyan Coast.
However Italy has been accused of working a “double commonplace” on the difficulty after an Italian Coast Guard boat carrying 937 rescued migrants was allowed to dock in Catania, Sicily on Wednesday.
“It’s unacceptable that individuals who have actually been picked out of the water, who’ve seen their pals drowning, nonetheless don’t get a spot of security,” Johannes Bayer, the Sea-Watch chairman, mentioned in a press release Wednesday.
“This can be a damning indictment of the European Union’s coverage on immigration. A dispute concerning the distribution of asylum seekers should not be carried out on the expense of individuals in maritime misery,” Bayer added.
What is occurring now?
Italy dispatched two ships to help the overcrowded Aquarius on Tuesday afternoon because it started its four-day voyage to Spain after the nation’s newly assembled authorities stepped up and provided to absorb the survivors.
Round 250 individuals had been transferred to the Italian Navy’s Orione and an additional 274 to the Coast Guard vessel Dattilo, SOS Méditerranée mentioned. The Aquarius now has simply 106 survivors on board, based on MSF.
French authorities spokesman Benjamin Griveaux quoted President Emmanuel Macron as saying there was “a level of cynicism and irresponsibility within the Italian authorities’s habits,” the information company reported. The French remarks drew an indignant response from Rome.
The supply near the Spanish authorities advised CNN that, throughout the means of claiming asylum, they might get the identical rights in Spain as Spanish nationals, till their utility is processed. That would take as much as two years, the supply mentioned.
Why did Italy refuse to assist?
Throughout Italy’s current election, Salvini had seized on anti-immigration sentiment within the nation and pledged to deport 500,000 migrants.
Whereas his rhetoric has softened barely since he took workplace, he declared that Italy “can’t be Europe’s refugee camp” throughout a current go to to Sicily.
As a substitute, the variety of migrants now touchdown on Spanish shores has escalated. Up to now, in 2018, that determine has grown drastically from the identical interval final 12 months. Within the first week of June, 561 migrants arrived in Spain by sea routes.
CNN’s Judith Vonberg, Sheena Mckenzie, Stephanie Halasz, Livia Borghese and Laura Perez Maestro contributed to this report.