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Posted by admin on Aug 14, 2018

The TelegraphItaly’s transport minister has called on the UK to take responsibility for 141 people rescued by a ship sailing under the flag of the British territory of Gibraltar. Danilo Toninelli, the transport and infrastructure minister and a senior member of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S), said via Twitter on Monday that the rescue was co-ordinated by the Libyan coast guard and the rescue ship was in Maltese waters, sailing under the flag of Gibraltar. “At this point the United Kingdom assumes its responsibility for the safeguarding of the shipwrecks," he said.  A European Commission spokesperson said all diplomatic channels were being employed to find a country willing to take the migrants, who were plucked from wooden boats in two operations 25 nautical miles off the Libyan coast Friday. French charity organisation SOS Mediterranee, which co-operates the ship with Doctors Without Borders, said on Monday they had sailed to a standby point mid-way between Malta and Italy (both countries are refusing to allow the Aquarius to dock) while awaiting Europe to assign a safe port. L'Ong #Aquarius è stata coordinata dalla Guardia Costiera libica in area di loro responsabilità. La nave è ora in acque maltesi e batte bandiera di Gibilterra. A questo punto il Regno Unito si assuma le sue responsabilità per la salvaguardia dei naufraghi.— Danilo Toninelli (@DaniloToninelli) August 13, 2018 Approximately 70 per cent of the migrants are from Somalia and Eritrea, including 67 unaccompanied minors and two pregnant women. They told rescuers five ships passed by them without offering help. Interior Minister and Deputy Premier Matteo Salvini said on Monday the Aquarius can “go where it wants, but not to Italy.” “Aquarius NGO ship with another 141 immigrants on board: German owned, rented by French NGO, foreign crew, in Maltese waters, flying the flag of Gibraltar,” Salvini said via Twitter, adding hashtags #closedports and #openhearts. A migrant child plays with a member of the crew on board the MV Aquarius rescue ship run by SOS Mediterranee organisation and Doctors Without Borders during a search and rescue (SAR) operation in the Mediterranean Sea, off the Libyan Coast, August 12  Credit: GUGLIELMO MANGIAPANE/REUTERS The far-right leader of the League party has initiated a tough stance on migration since taking over as interior minister, essentially closing Italy’s ports to NGO vessels. The same ship was turned away from ports in Italy and Malta in June after rescuing more than 600 migrants, who were eventually taken to Spain. “European governments have put all their efforts into propping up the Libyan Joint Rescue Coordination Center, however Friday’s events show they don’t have the capacity to fully coordinate a rescue,” said Aloys Vimard, MSF’s project coordinator on board the Aquarius. “A rescue is not complete until there is safe disembarkation.”

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