Aquarius migrants disembark in Valencia

Three ships carrying hundreds of migrants have docked in the Spanish port of Valencia

The migrants were received by the Spanish Red Cross, who set up a reception centre in Valencia
The migrants were received by the Spanish Red Cross, who set up a reception centre in Valencia

Over 600 migrants have arrived at the Spanish port of Valencia after nine days at sea.

Following a standoff between Italy and Malta, both of which refused to let take the migrants in, Spain stepped in to allow the rescue vessel Aquarius to dock in Valencia.

Italy went on to transfer some of the migrants onto two of their vessels, which set sail for Spain together with the Aquarius. The Italian coastguard ship vessel Dattilo arrived early on Sunday, followed by Aquarius and an Italian navy ship – the Orione.

Among those rescued are 123 minors, 11 children, and 80 women – seven of whom are pregnant. The pregnant women were given immediate medical attention.

A medic tends to an injured migrant on Aquarius
A medic tends to an injured migrant on Aquarius

The migrants were received by the Spanish Red Cross, who set up a reception centre in Valencia with more than 1,000 volunteers and 400 translators.  Everyone aboard will be given psychological help, the Spanish Red Cross said.

The Aquarius carried out the initial rescue with the help of Italian frigates, deep in Libyan search and rescue zone early last Sunday. The closest safe port excluding Libya was Lampedusa, but the new Italian government refused to receive the migrants in any of the country’s ports.

Instead, it insisted that Malta should take in the migrants, to which Prime Minister Joseph Muscat insisted that the country is in line with its international obligations that state any rescued people should be taken to the closest, safest port of call.

 

More in World

Get access to the real stories first with the digital edition

Subscribe