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As the SOS Mediterranee rescue ship, MV Aquarius, heads to the Spanish port of Valencia, Elisa De Pieri, Amnesty International’s Italy Researcher said:

“By closing their ports the Italian and Maltese governments are trampling the principle of rescue at sea and undermining the entire search and rescue system. If allowed to go unchallenged, it will discourage and compromise the lifesaving work of NGO’s leaving thousands of migrants and refugees adrift in the Mediterranean.

“Whilst the offer by the Spanish government to welcome the Aquarius is a moving example of solidarity, it also highlights the calculated callousness of the Italian and Maltese authorities. This sets a precedent that will inevitably cost lives.”