Shunned by Italy, migrants at sea begin arriving in Spain

Clay Curtis
June 21, 2018

Salvini, who is also leader of the right-wing League and deputy prime minister, posted remarks on Facebook and Twitter in an escalating row with NGOs as one ship, the Aquarius, headed to Spain after being banned from Italian ports.

On Monday, Spain's maritime rescue service said it has brought to safety 152 migrants attempting to enter Europe by sea, while a boat with 54 more people is still missing.

The European Union's asylum office says the number of people applying for worldwide protection in Europe has plunged but remains higher than before 2015, when more than one million migrants entered, many fleeing the war in Syria.

"I have mixed feelings", he told The Associated Press on Sunday. "I am happy that the journey is over, a journey that was too long, and I am anxious for the situation in the Mediterranean and the closing of European ports".

The migrants were met by emergency workers, health officials, Red Cross volunteers and psychologists at the city's marina. Each was assigned to a translator, and authorities worked to determine their identities before they were sent to welcome centers.

The first migrant was a 29-year-old man from South Sudan.

"MSF denounces any European government which is choosing political scoring of points above saving lives at sea", she said. The 6th Fleet said crew members couldn't locate the bodies or other survivors after the first 41 people.

Far fewer migrants have arrived in Spain, but the number is rising fast, with more than 1,000 rescued by Spain's coast guard on Friday and Saturday.

Spain's minister of public works, said due to their ordeal, the migrants from the rescue ship Aquarius will be granted a "special authorization" to remain in the country for one month before "they will be dealt with according to our laws without exception". "But now we must collectively reflect on the reasons for people fleeing across the Mediterranean". "(The EU) must recognize that it needs an immigration policy that these times require".

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The Aquarius originally picked up about 630 migrants - including pregnant women and children - from six rubber dinghies in the Mediterranean Sea off Libya.

The Aquarius picked up the 630 migrants off the Libyan coast last week.

They also demanded "profound" changes to the EU's asylum rules which put the migrant burden on their port of entry to Europe - mainly Italy and Greece.

The Trenton originally asked a private aid group to take on its unexpected passengers.

The destination wasn't immediately announced, but the coast guard said it wouldn't dock until at least Tuesday.

"We were aware that something "exceptional" could happen since the Aquarius had left to rescue migrants, but we never thought of something like this", Corral said.

They also demanded "profound" changes to the European Union asylum rules which put the migrant burden on their country of entry to Europe - mainly Italy and Greece.

"Almost half the migrants have shown their willingness to seek asylum in France, which offered to welcome some of the people travelling on the ship", Spain's new socialist government said in a statement.

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