France is pushing for the Aquarius to dock and disembark dozens of migrants in Malta, a presidential source said on September 25, after the ship’s Panamanian registration was revoked over the weekend.
"We are clear on the fact that it shouldn't spend four to five days at sea going towards France or Spain or anywhere," a French presidential source told the AFP on condition of anonymity. "It needs to dock soon and it is close to Malta at the moment.”
The development came hours after French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said France was not ready to respond positively to a request from the charities running the ship for permission to dock in the southern French port city of Marseilles.
Le Maire said ships were supposed to dock at the nearest port under European rules and Marseille was not the nearest.