EURONEWS: An NGO ship with more than 600 rescued migrants aboard remains stranded in the Mediterranean despite an offer of safe harbour in the Spanish port of Valencia.
The crew of the Aquarius had initially been hoping to dock in Italy but the country’s foreign minister Matteo Salvini banned the ship from docking, saying he wanted to prevent Italy becoming a “huge refugee camp”.
Salvini said Malta should accept the boat and its passengers, who had been rescued at sea in separate operations off the Libyan coast. When Malta also refused, new Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez made an offer to take the ship at Valencia.
However, Euronews’ correspondent on board the Aquarius, Anelise Borges, says the organisers of the rescue mission, from the NGOs SOS Méditerranée and Medecins Sans Frontieres had decided travelling to Valencia would be too risky. The trip would take four to five days, and with so many people aboard the boat and bad weather making seafaring conditions difficult, going to Valencia would be “a crazy idea.”
The situation on the Aquarius deteriorated after sundown on Monday, reports Anelise Borges, with several fights breaking out amongst the rescued migrants. There is also a shortage of blankets, clean clothes and other supplies. Passengers include pregnant women, unaccompanied minors and a number of younger children. They had been at sea for up to 30 hours before being rescued by the Aquarius.