Twitter: PanEuropeanMovement ‏

Migrants transferred to Italian ships for trip to Spain

Italy and Malta have refused the migrants entry to dock at ports since Saturday

Hundreds of migrants were being split between three ships Tuesday for a trip to Spain in bad weather, after Italy’s new government used their plight to pressure Europe to revisit its migration policy.

The 629 migrants — including 123 unaccompanied minors and several pregnant women — were onboard the Aquarius, operated by the charity SOS Mediterranee. The migrants, stuck at sea since Saturday after Italy and Malta refused them permission to dock in their ports, are now heading for Spain, where the prime minister has offered them safe harbour.

RELATED: Migrants remain at sea as Italy-Malta standoff escalates

The migrants were being transferred to two Italian ships, one Coast Guard and one Navy, because of forecasts of deteriorating weather conditions along the route to Valencia, Spain, according to SOS Mediterranee spokeswoman Mathilde Auvillain. Officials in Valencia said they expected the ship to arrive in three to four days, depending on when they depart and weather conditions.

Italy’s new anti-migrant, right-wing interior minister has made good on a campaign pledge to close Italian ports to non-governmental organizations that pick up migrants at sea, which he has likened to taxi services for migrant smugglers.

Matteo Salvini, whose League is part of the populist coalition that took office this month, promised voters that other European countries would be made to share the burden of caring for asylum-seekers arriving in Italy on unseaworthy boats mostly from lawless Libya, also taking particular aim at the aid vessels.

The new Spanish foreign minister said that Spain’s decision in accepting the migrant ship is also meant to push European Union leaders to address the bloc’s migration policies later this month at an EU summit.

“Spain has made a gesture that aims to trigger a European dynamic to stop looking away, allowing one (EU member) to cope with the problem while the rest of us pass the buck,” Borrell told Ser radio late on Monday.

The decision to offer a docking port in the eastern city of Valencia had been a personal and direct move by the country’s new prime minister, the Socialist Pedro Sanchez.

Many Spanish regions and cities have offered to provide long-term support to the migrants, said Valencia’s regional vice-president, Monica Oltra. The Red Cross was preparing shelter and medical assistance to meet immediate needs on their arrival.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Young Eckville golfers learn the basics at kids’ workshop

Eckville Rec Board held a golf clinic at Dark Horse Golf Course for kids wanting to learn the sport

Highlights of the Lacombe County council meeting – June 13, 2019

Next Regular Council Meeting is Thursday, June 27

Alberta launches court challenge of federal carbon tax

Province wants a legal opinion on the constitutionality of Ottawa imposing the tax

Jason Kenney hands out earplugs during debate on unions’ bargaining rights

Alberta premier gives earplugs to United Conservative caucus members so they can tune out the NDP

Red and Black Awards honour Eckville Jr/Sr High School athletes

The annual athletic awards were held at the school June 19

Air Canada reviewing how crew left sleeping passenger on parked plane

In a Facebook post, the woman said she woke up ‘all alone’ on a ‘cold dark’ aircraft

Maskwacis featured in documentary series that unearths Indigenous cuisine

Red Chef Revival’s host visits community, elders and Nipisihkopahk School

PHOTOS: Event marks one year since soccer team rescued from Thai cave

Nine players and coach took part in marathon and bike event to help improve conditions at cave

Fighter Jets light up Bucs’ to take AFL first place

38-3 loss puts Central Alberta into second place in the AFL

PHOTOS: Scamp the Tramp wins World’s Ugliest Dog Contest

‘He’s Scamp the Champ, no longer Scamp the Tramp,’ his Californian owner said.

Deals on paid time off for domestic violence ‘beginning of a wave,’ says expert

Philippines was the first country to pay for domestic-violence leave, starting in 2004

Calgary Flames select forward Jakob Pelletier with the No. 26 pick

The 18-year-old winger from Quebec City had spoken with the club earlier in the day and knew they were interested

Central Alberta RCMP constable found not guilty of sexual assault

Justice Grant Dunlop acquitted Const. Jason Tress following a week-long trial in Red Deer Court

Inuit sue feds over experiments that included skin grafts

Plaintiffs allege they were also prodded with sharp instruments to assess their reaction to pain

Most Read