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Rescue ships stranded in Med as Europe fails to respond

MILAN — The Spanish humanitarian ship Open Arms remains stuck in the Mediterranean Sea off Italy’s southernmost island for an eighth day, with no European government offering safe harbor to the 121 migrants on board and the vessel facing a fine of up to 1 million euros if it enters Italian waters.

The ship’s dilemma is becoming the new normal as European governments increasingly shut their doors to migrants. The move is led by Italy’s firebrand Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who this week has plunged Italy into political crisis in an apparent power ploy largely buoyed by popularity gained for his hard-line stance against migrant arrivals.

The NGO says Spain and Malta also have refused to open their ports, and the EU Commission only intervenes by request of a national government.

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