Tragedies Ahead if Countries Refuse Migrants Rescued at Sea

Migrants remain at sea as Italy-Malta standoff intensifies

More than 600 refugees stranded in Mediterranean Sea as Italian minister shuts ports to rescue ship

Late on Monday night, Aquarius rescue coordinator Nicola Stalla said that embarking on journey with whole group was impossible because it implies that y would have to sleep in ceiling and wear was getting worse, so it would mean "endangering Ship, to crew and to rescued". "Moreover, the weather conditions are adverse".

The vast majority of the people traveling on the Aquarius - 400 - were rescued by Italian coast guard and navy vessels as well as cargo ships in the waters off Libya.

The Aquarius ship picked up the migrants, including 123 unaccompanied minors, 11 other children and seven pregnant women, from inflatable boats off the coast of Libya during the weekend.

"Matteo Salvini, interior minister and leader of the anti-immigrant party the league, posted [on Twitter] under the hashtag "ports closed" 'Italy too says no to human trafficking'".

Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat thanked Spain's prime minister and promised to send supplies to the ship but, he said, the matter is not closed.

More than 600 people are stuck aboard the ship Aquarius, run by a French charity, which is now waiting between Malta and Italy while the two countries row over who should take responsibility.

"Plan from MRCC (the Maritime Rescue Coordination Center) Rome is that rescued people will later be transferred on Italian ships before heading together to #Valencia", SOS Mediteranee said on Twitter.

The Aquarius is one of the few remaining non-profit rescue ships left in the central Mediterranean, where so far this year 784 migrants have drowned during the crossing, according to figures from the United Nations Refugee Agency.

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Many speculated that he had withdrawn it under pressure from his party and its allies, who have pledged to take a stand against European Union migration policies that they say leave Italy and its Mediterranean neighbours bearing the brunt of one of the biggest migration crises in a century.

In a statement the country's new prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, said he had given permission for the MS Aquarius to dock in Valencia, adding his country would welcome all those on board.

The number of migrants arriving in Spain has been on the rise, Benavides reports, while the number of sea arrivals in Italy "has dropped 77 percent compared to this time previous year, following controversial deals with the Libyan Coast Guard and investigations into NGO search-and-rescues".

Malta allows a small number of emergency evacuations from rescue ships, but has always refused large numbers.

Maltese premier Joseph Muscat accused Italy of violating worldwide norms governing sea rescues and said its stance risked "creating a risky situation for all those involved".

The standoff between the European countries is the first tangible example of Italy's new hard line on arrivals of migrants by rescue vessels at sea.

Conte is set to head to Paris for talks with French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday ahead of the European summit on June 28-29, with a particular focus on migration, Macron's office said Monday. Some of those on board are reportedly pregnant women, and 15 others have serious chemical burns.

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