Rescue vessel Aquarius 2 (IMO 7600574), which has been deregistered by Panama, and which is carrying on board 58 migrants, has been refused permission to dock in Marseille.
French finance minister Brune Le Maire claimed that rescue ships would have to sail to the nearest safe port, in accordance with European rules, which Marseille was not. There were nearer ports were in Italy or Malta, he said.
Europe Minister Nathalie Loiseau had criticized the Italian government for closing its ports to “people in need” which Loiseau asserted violated “law and humanity”.
France, Portugal, Spain and Germany struck a deal on Tuesday September 25th to take in the migrants after Italy refused to let the vessel dock.
Portugal said it had agreed to take 10 of the 58 migrants on board as part of a “response of solidarity to the flow of migrants seeking to reach Europe across the Mediterranean”.
Malta said migrants would be transferred to a patrol boat in international waters and taken to the island, which would then send them to four other European Union states.
The French prime minister’s office said that the Aquarius, whose registration was revoked by Panama earlier this week, would head to Marseille once its passengers had disembarked, but this assertion no longer appears to be operative.
1977-built, Gibraltar-flagged, 1,812 gt “fishery patrol vessel” Aquarius 2 is owned by Aquarius GmbH, care of manager Jasmund Shipping GmbH of Germany. It is entered with Gard P&I (Bermuda) on behalf of MV Aquarius GmbH