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Spain Agrees To "Safe Harbor" For Migrants

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Spain Agrees To "Safe Harbor" For Migrants

Spain's prime minister has said the country will take in a rescue ship stranded in the Mediterranean, to help avoid a humanitarian disaster.

Pedro Sánchez said he would give "safe harbor" to the Aquarius and the 629 people on board, after Italy and Malta both refused to let the ship dock, according to the BBC.

The UN refugee agency and the EU had both called for a swift end to the stand-off between the two countries.

Sánchez, who took office a week ago, said the ship would dock in Valencia.

The migrants aboard the Aquarius were picked up from inflatable boats off the coast of Libya at the weekend, in six different rescue operations, according to the German charity SOS Méditerranée.

"It is our duty to help avoid a humanitarian catastrophe and offer a safe port to these people, to comply with our human rights obligations," Sanchez's office said.

Those saved include 123 unaccompanied minors, 11 younger children and seven pregnant women, SOS Méditerranée said.

The minors are aged between 13 and 17 and come from Eritrea, Ghana, Nigeria and Sudan, according to a journalist on the ship, Anelise Borges.

Image credit: BBC