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French rescue vessel Aquarius stranded again, seeks port

AFP  |  Marseille 

The operators of the migrant ship today called on to find a safe haven for 141 people rescued in the Mediterranean, saying and had again refused to let it dock.

The Aquarius, which was left stranded with 630 migrants aboard in June after being turned away by and Valletta, resumed rescue operations off the last week.

On Friday, it picked up 141 people in two separate operations, half of them children, but it has again struggled to find a port to bring them ashore.

Sophie Beau, of the vessel's operator SOS Mediterranee, said the ship, which is currently situated between and the Italian island of Lampedusa, had again received "official negative replies" from the two countries.

"We're asking all European countries to find a solution. We're asking them to be responsible and find a safe port in the Mediterranean," she said, accusing and of flouting international

Tove Ernst, a for the European Commission, said it was in contact with "a number of member states that have approached us regarding the incident" to try to find a "swift resolution" to the standoff.

Since June, Italy's new far-right has regularly turned away rescue operated by foreign NGOs such as the Aquarius, accusing them of playing into the hands of people smugglers.

On Saturday, he said the would "never see an Italian port" again.

His hardline stance has sparked a row among EU members, underscoring their failure to come up with a common approach to the influx of people trying to escape conflict, persecution or poverty in and the

In June, stepped in and welcomed the

France, which was within closer range but did not allow the boat access, took in 78 of the migrants after they landed.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, August 13 2018. 18:10 IST