Aquarius migrants disembark in Valencia

Aquarius migrants disembark in Valencia

The remaining migrants arrived on an Italian coastguard ship, the Dattilo, and an Italian navy vessel, the Orione.

Last weekend the Aquarius fell victim to the new political dispensation in Italy - where the far-right Lega is partner in a populist government - when Lega's Matteo Salvini, the freshly installed interior minister, refused to allow the ship to dock in any Italian port.

High waves and winds forced the convoy to take a detour on their 1,500-kilometre (930-mile) voyage to Spain.

The Aquarius and the two Italian boats are carrying the 630 migrants rescued by the Aquarius while attempting the perilous crossing of the Mediterranean last week. Spain ended up offering the ship safe harbour. "I am happy that the journey (for the Aquarius migrants) is over - a journey that was too long - and I am anxious for the situation in the Mediterranean and the closing of European ports".

"At this moment, the boat is arriving in Spain with 629 presumed refugees and so I thank the Spanish government. I am happy that the journey is over, a journey that was too long, and I am anxious for the situation in the Mediterranean and the closing of European ports".

The migrants will be met by emergency workers, including health officials and psychologists, at the city's marina. Each were assigned to a translator and authorities worked to determine their identities before they were sent to welcome centres. The first migrantwas a 29-year-old man from South Sudan. They have also been trained to identify possible victims of human trafficking and those in need of special protection.

"No human being is "illegal", and people who need help should receive help", said Mr Sy. At least 13,000 people have drowned trying to reach European shores.

Spanish authorities say they will examine the migrants case-by-case to see who may qualify for asylum.

The Aquarius is now en route to Valencia, having changed course Thursday due to rough weather.

"We have to strike a balance between our sensibilities and humanity and our respect for the law", said Spain's migration minister, Magdalena Valerio.

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The USB called on the newly installed government - including Salvini and Five Star Movement leader Luigi Di Maio, who serves as minister for labor and the economy - to recognize the "inhumane conditions" in which agricultural and food industry laborers work, describing them as "at the edge of slavery".

"The prime minister has been clear that this was a humanitarian situation", Spanish Labor Minister Magdalena Valerio told COPE radio.

Meanwhile, several hundred more migrants were aboard an Italian coast guard vessel off Sicily on Sunday.

Muscat said on Sunday that while on its way to Italy, the ship was asked by Italian authorities to anchor in worldwide waters - a request which breached global law and risked causing a humanitarian crisis. I took the decision that they can not come in because it was not our responsibility.

Some 20,000 people from across Italy are expected to join the demonstration Saturday afternoon, Rome police said.

The people spent nearly a week at sea after being rescued from inflatable boats off the coast of Libya.

The passengers come from 26 countries, mainly from Africa but also Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, according to Doctors Without Borders.

More than 1.8 million migrants have arrived in Europe since 2014, and Italy is now sheltering more than 170,000 asylum seekers, as well as an estimated 500,000 unregistered migrants.

Earlier this week, Rome was outraged when a French government spokesman, apparently quoting French President Emmanuel Macron, said Italy had acted with "a form of cynicism and a measure of irresponsibility" by turning the migrants away.

But the issues with the Aquarius highlighted the European Union's failure to agree on how to manage huge numbers of migrants arriving on Europe's shores. It also recovered four bodies.

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