Posted on August 13, 2018 by Ashleigh Cowie
Italy’s transport minister has called on the UK to take in 141 refugees picked up by a rescue ship which sails under the British territory of Gibraltar.
Danilo Toninelli said the UK should take responsibility for the migrants aboard the Aquarius.
The French aid groups SOS Mediterranee and Doctors Without Borders have called on European nations to identify a close port of safety so the 141 migrants picked up in two rescues on Friday could disembark.
Most of the migrants are from Somalia and Eritrea and include 67 unaccompanied minors.
A humanitarian group who are transporting the migrants said: "Authorities from Malta and Italy inform Aquarius that they will not grant 141 people onboard a place of safety to disembark."
Toninelli said the rescue was co-ordinated by the Libyan coast guard and the ship is now in Maltese waters.
Both Maltese and Italian maritime authorities have informed the French rescue organisation they will not grant Aquarius a place of safety to disembark the 141 rescued people on-board.
The ship has now reached a standby position exactly between Malta and Italy.
They are currently awaiting directions on a place of safety.