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Migrant rescue boat Aquarius due to dock in Valencia on Sunday

Some of the Aquarius migrants earier this week.
Some of the Aquarius migrants earier this week. / EP
  • The 629 migrants are now divided in three vessels and heading for Spain after being rejected by Italy and Malta

The Spanish port of Valencia is waiting for the arrival of 629 migrants who have made the headlines around the world this week.

The new Spanish government run by Socialist Pedro Sánchez offered the country's ports as a destination for the Aquarius, a rescue boat full of migrants that was stuck in the Mediterranean after being refused entry by Italy and Malta.

Médicins Sans Frontières, the organisation that rescued the migrants along with SOS Mediterranée, pointed out that the port of Valencia, offered by the Spanish government was not their ideal destination as it involved a journey of 700 miles, that the migrants, among them 123 unaccompanied minors; but it was their only option.

Since then the 629 occupants have been shared among three boats thanks to two Italian vessels that joined the mission.

On Thursday the vessels changed direction due to the sea conditions and were sailing close to Sardinia as instructed by the Italian maritime rescue services. They now expect to reach Valencia on Sunday.

The migrants were rescued over Saturday and Sunday from the sea off the shores of Libya.

Since the Spanish government announced its willingness to let the migrant boats dock in Valencia, cities and regions around the country have been offering to take in the migrants once on Spanish shores.

The city of Malaga announced that it could take in 30 people in municipal housing. The boats' occupants will be given refugee status on arrival.