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Spain Opens Port To Stranded Migrant Ship

Migrants are rescued by staff members of the Aquarius, a search and rescue ship run in partnership between SOS Mediterranee and Medecins Sans Frontieres in the central Mediterranean Sea.

Spain says it will give "safe harbor" to a migrant rescue ship stranded in the Mediterranean to help avoid a "humanitarian catastrophe," after Italy and Malta both refused to let the ship dock.

The office of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who took office a week ago, said on June 11 that his government agreed to allow the Aquarius to dock in Valencia.

The ship was carrying 629 migrants picked up from inflatable boats off the coast of Libya at the weekend, according to SOS Mediterranee.

The aid group said those saved include 123 unaccompanied minors, 11 younger children, and seven pregnant women.

Malta had refused to take in the Aquarius, saying the ship took on the migrants in international waters off Libya and rescue operations were coordinated by Italy.

Italy's government said Malta "cannot continue to look the other way when it comes to respecting precise international conventions on the protection of human life."

Based on AFP and Reuters