Spain avoids offering safe port to the Aquarius
Refugee rescue ship with 141 on board rejected by Malta and Italy
The Spanish government has avoided offering a safe harbor to the Aquarius, a refugee rescue ship with 141 people on board, alleging that there are other countries closer to the boat.
Spain’s decision can be seen as a U-turn from the government’s criteria last June, when the Aquarius was stranded in the Mediterranean for several days with 630 on board and president Pedro Sánchez offered them to dock in Valencia—this, despite Spain not being the closest country to the ship either.
The city council of Barcelona offered to welcome the Aquarius in its port, but Spain has ruled out accepting the ship—at least for the moment. Italy and Malta have already rejected offering a safe harbor to the Aquarius, which drastically reduces the list of countries where the ship could dock.
A refugee rescue ship run by the Catalan NGO Proactiva Open Arms arrived in Algeciras, south of Spain, with 87 migrants on board last Thursday. They were stranded in the Mediterranean for over a week