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SPAIN (CBSMiami) – Spain has given a last-minute offer of safe haven to a stranded rescue ship with more than 600 migrants on board.
The vessel has spent days drifting in the Mediterranean after Italy’s new anti-immigration government refused to let it dock.
Hundreds of migrants are still at sea, two days after they were saved in several intense rescue operations off the coast of Libya.
They had hoped to make it to Italy but the country’s new interior minister closed the ports.
Matteo Salvini, who campaigned to stop immigration, says saving lives is a duty but turning Italy into an enormous refugee camp isn’t.
Authorities on the tiny island state of Malta have also denied access to the private ship.
The rescued migrants include more than one hundred unaccompanied minors and seven pregnant women.
Rescue volunteers say food and water are about to run out.
“It is not comfortable at all,” said Aloys Vimard with Doctors Without Borders. “They are weak, tired, exhausted.”
Spain has now offered to take these migrants.
But more come every day, and there’s no end in sight for the heated debate about who should share the humanitarian burden.
Italy has taken in more than 600,000 migrants from boats since 2014.