After a gruelling 9-day journey at sea, a total of 629 rescued migrants arrived in the Spanish port of Valencia on Sunday.
The first of three vessels entered harbour soon after dawn and the migrants rescued near Libya last weekend by the Aquarius ship then disembarked.
Italian ship carrying rescued migrants arrives in Spain https://t.co/Y3bikbvgH1— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) June 17, 2018
It marked the close of an exhausting ordeal that began when the charity rescue boat was barred from entering ports in Italy and Malta, leaving the migrants on board, including 100 children and seven pregnant women, stranded at sea.
The migrants came 26 countries. Most of them from Africa but others are from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, according to medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières.
WATCH: Euronews exclusive live coverage on board Aquarius as rescued migrants arrive in Valencia. https://t.co/B3dYBUxZLx— euronews (@euronews) June 17, 2018
Spain’s new socialist government has promised free healthcare and says it will investigate each asylum case.
The migrants have sparked a political storm about Europe’s migration policy.
#UPDATE The Italian navy boat, the Dattilo, carrying some of the 630 migrants from the Aquarius, entered the southeastern port of Valencia just before 6:30 am (0430 GMT) https://t.co/4gQoMXGxmZ pic.twitter.com/X1l9yaPWKl— AFP news agency (@AFP) June 17, 2018