The Latest: Italian media say aid ship denied right to dock
MADRID (AP) — The Latest on Europe’s response to mass immigration: (all times local):
An aid ship carrying 629 migrants who were rescued in the Mediterranean Sea is waiting to learn where it can dock.
Italy’s coast guard and navy and private cargo ships picked up 400 of the migrants before they were transferred to the vessel operated by humanitarian group SOS Mediterranee.
The group tweeted on Sunday that 40 of the people on the Aquarius were crossing the sea in a dinghy that collapsed before they were rescued.
Italian news reports say the country’s new right-wing interior minister, Matteo Salvini, denied the aid ship permission to dock in Italy and wants Malta to accept it.
A Salvini aide didn’t immediately respond for a request for details, only saying the news reports “aren’t being denied.”
Maltese officials didn’t immediately comment.
Spain’s maritime rescue service says it has saved 231 migrants trying the cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe.
The rescue service says its patrol craft intercepted six different boats carrying migrants that had left from African shores throughout Saturday.
Driven by violent conflicts and extreme poverty, tens of thousands of migrants attempt to reach southern Europe each year by crossing the Mediterranean in smugglers’ boats. Most of the boats are unfit for open water, and thousands drown annually.
The U.N. says at least 785 migrants have died crossing the Mediterranean so far this year. Through the first five months of 2018, a total of 27,482 migrants reached European shores, with 7,614 of them arriving in Spain.