Aquarius migrant rescue ship arrives in Spain


"People are calm and pleased to be arriving in Spain", the group said. Francis added that "mutual respect" will lead to solutions for the issues involved with migration.

Some of the rescued migrants aboard the Aquarius will be allowed to settle in France, Spain's deputy prime minister said Saturday. "(The EU) must recognize that it needs an immigration policy that these times require".

Sanchez with the migrant-friendly stance he adopted since acquiring his post two weeks, and the new socialist government in the country, has promised them free healthcare and says it will investigate each asylum case.

After a week stranded in the Mediterranean, hundreds of migrants rejected by Italy and Malta are about to be welcomed by Spain. It is due to arrive in Valencia on Sunday. The first to complete reception procedures was a 29-year-old man from South Sudan, the Valencia regional government emergency and security department said on its Twitter feed.

They also both called for steps to beef up Europe's borders to prevent illegal immigration. Spanish officials plan to do a case-by-case analysis of the migrants' requests for asylum. Italy denied the Aquarius a place to dock, insisting it was Malta's responsibility. The trip to the Spanish port took almost a week.

One of the rubber boats broke apart in the middle of the night-time rescue, Avis said. The others had been transferred to an Italian coast guard vessel and a ship belonging to the Italian navy to make the journey safer.

Italy was criticized - and praised - this week for refusing to let a humanitarian rescue ship dock.

Spain stepped in and agreed to receive the refugees.

Spain's maritime rescue service says it has saved 825 people and recovered four bodies from dozens of migrant boats attempting the perilous crossing of the Mediterranean Sea over the past two days. The journey across the Mediterranean to Valencia took almost a week.

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David Noguera tells The Associated Press that "I have mixed feelings".

They were on board a migrant search-and-rescue ship that's operated by Doctors Without Borders and SOS Méditerranée.

An Italian coast guard ship carrying migrants rescued from the Mediterranean Sea arrived in the Spanish port city of Valencia on Sunday, marking the end of a dispute that laid bare divisions among European Union member states over migration and asylum policy.

It will arrive close to the island of Lampedusa on Sunday morning where an Italian coast guard vessel will take the migrants. Italy refused the Aquarius and its 600 passengers entry then Spain offered to take it.

Spain's offer, Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said, was a "political gesture" to "oblige Europe to forge a common policy to a common problem".

The migrants include 123 unaccompanied minors, 11 children and as many as seven pregnant women.

Spain announced on Saturday that it had accepted an offer from the French government to take in any migrants who want to go to France "once they have fulfilled the protocols established for their arrival".

The European Commission, the EU's executive arm in Brussels, limited itself to appeals for solidarity among the 28 member states and for humanity toward migrants adrift at sea.