CATANIA, Italy – An Italian coast guard ship has arrived in the Sicilian port of Catania with 932 migrants and two bodies on board, while another rescue vessel off the coast of Libya was still awaiting instructions on where to go.
The migrants taken to Catania were picked up in the Mediterranean Sea on Sunday as part of seven different operations conducted by European Union rescue boats.
During its crossing to Catania, the Italian Diciotti coast guard vessel stopped at the island of Lampedusa in order to drop off five people – four pregnant women and a minor – who required urgent medical attention.
The arrival of the ship came at a turbulent time in Mediterranean migration politics, with Italy and Malta on Monday having refused to allow the Aquarius rescue vessel of French-German NGO SOS Mediterranee with over 600 migrants on board to dock at their ports.
Spain stepped in to end the stand-off, offering to welcome the ship to the eastern city of Valencia.
The Aquarius was expected to arrive to Spain on Saturday.
Meanwhile, another rescue vessel belonging to German NGO Sea Watch found itself in a similar situation, waiting for instructions on which port to go to in waters off the coast of Libya, with 41 survivors of a shipwreck and the bodies of 12 migrants on board.
Sources from that NGO told EFE that it had been alerted to the presence of a rubber boat carrying migrants by the USS Trenton of the United States Navy.