Seasickness grips migrants on board, vessel changes route

NGO says that ship will try to avoid bad weather

The MV Aquarius is now headed to Sardinia, after the Italian coastguard guiding the humanitarian vessel decided to change its route.

The ship has been at the centre of a standoff between Italy and Malta, after both countries refused to take in the 629 migrants aboard the ship.

“The Aquarius will sail along the east cost of Sardinia to avoid bad weather and preserve the sick, exhausted and shocked survivors of this untenable situation,” SOS Mediterranee tweeted on Thursday.

MV Aquarius will be heading to Valencia, after the Spanish government decided to take in the migrants on Monday.

Conditions on the ship worsened overnight, with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) writing that many migrants were suffering from seasickness.

The impasse between Malta and Italy has drawn international attention, with MEPs on Wednesday lambasting Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s decision to close down Italian ports. Even the Pope weighed in to express his dismay.

If you can't cope, relinquish rescue area and money, Italian minister challenges Malta

Sicilian MPs walked out in protest when President Marie-Louise Coleiro was about to address the assembly there, and the Italian Infrastructure Minister challenged Malta to relinquish part of its search and rescue area.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat expressed hopes that the incident was “just a blip” and confirmed that he would be meeting the new Italian Prime Minister in person during the next EU Council scheduled for the end of the month.