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Italy accepts migrants turned away from Malta

August 7, 2013

MILAN (AP) — The Italian government has agreed to accept 102 migrants rescued at sea by a tanker that has been denied entry to Malta for two days.

Italian Coast Guard Commander Filippo Marini said the Liberian-flagged tanker has arrived off of Sicily, where the migrants will disembark Wednesday. The European Commission had urged Malta to accept the migrants, including four pregnant women and another requiring medical care.

Malta insists it was acting within its rights under international law to rebuff the tanker, saying Libya was the closest port when the tanker rescued the migrants. The tanker proceeded to Malta despite the Maltese government’s instructions to head for Libya.

Thousands of migrants heading to Europe arrive in Malta and Italy each year, often aboard unseaworthy boats.

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