Bad weather forces migrant ship detour in Mediterranean

Blanche Robertson
June 15, 2018

Italy's new Economy Minister Giovanni Tria meanwhile announced he was cancelling a meeting with his French counterpart Bruno le Maire in Paris.

Earlier, Italy, which is pursuing a hardline policy on immigration, closed its ports to the refugees on Aquarius, saying that Malta was the closest and safest port to accommodate the vessel.

Salvini also accused France of having turned back 10,249 migrants at Italy's northern border since January, "including women, children and disabled people". On Tuesday morning, Italy sent some medical supplies to the Aquarius where 21 people where suffering from chemical burns from the mix of salt water and spilled fuel that had been in the rubber boats.

Conte said he and Macron "agreed on the need to cooperate closely" on migration issues.

On Monday, Spain said that it would be welcoming the Aquarius and allowing it to dock in Valencia.

"It's very clear that Europe needs to reform its asylum system in a collective manner; there's a lot of resistance to that but there's no other way", Grandi said.

On Sunday, Italy refused to accept Aquarius, carrying migrants rescued from the Mediterranean.

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Italy's deputy prime minister Luigi Di Maio struck a combative tone on Thursday. If they want, we will help them.

A Hungarian court has sentenced four human traffickers to 25 years in prison each for their roles in the 2015 case in which 71 migrants suffocated to death in the back of a refrigerated truck found on an Austrian highway.

Francis issued a message to a Vatican-Mexican migration conference Thursday.

The German chancellor, who is working to pull together a Europe-wide deal on redistributing asylum seekers and find a more lasting solution to illegal migration involving enhanced controls along the European Union's external border, has dismissed the plan as in breach of EU law.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, said he was certain Italy would do its part but said there must be a "common response to this problem so that Italy isn't left alone".

A ship carrying hundreds of migrants experiences poor weather conditions as it continues its journey to Spain.

More than 700,000 migrants have landed on Italian shores since 2013, and Mr Salvini has repeatedly said that Italy can not continue to cope with the burden alone. The EU plan, which was meant to relieve pressure on Italy and Greece, has largely flopped, with only a handful of countries receiving their share of newcomers. With several days' sailing to go before they reach the Spanish coast, worsening weather and many onboard suffering from sea sickness, the Italian coastguard ship leading the convoy made a decision to direct the boats closer to land.

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