THE Spanish government is to allow the migrant ship Aquarius to dock in Valencia after both Italy and Malta refused its entry.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez “has given instructions for Spain to comply with its international commitments in matters of humanitarian crises” according to a Moncloa statement.
Italy’s new Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said “saving lives is a duty, turning Italy into a huge refugee camp is not.
“Italy is done bending over backwards and obeying – this time THERE IS SOMEONE WHO SAYS NO,” he wrote on Twitter.
He suggested that Malta should accept the Aquarius, but it refused arguing that it fell under Italy’s jurisdiction.
Mr Salvini, leader of the right-wing League party, promised to take a tough stance against migration and has also said he was considering taking action against organisations that rescue migrants at sea. He has accused them of working with people-smugglers.
“Malta takes in nobody,” he added.
“France pushes people back at the border, Spain defends its frontier with weapons.”
Mr Malvini said it was time for Italy to “say no to human trafficking.”
The ship, which was located in international waters between Malta and Italy, is carrying 629 people on board, with reports of the vessel only having enough food to last one day. Some of those on board are reportedly pregnant women, and 15 others have serious chemical burns.
Both the Mayor of Barcelona and the Mayor of Valencia offered their cities to take in the ship, with the latter being the end destination for the Aquarius’ 1,300 km route.