The coast guard ship is one of two Italian vessels that took on some of the Aquarius’s passengers before escorting it to Spain, at the invitation of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.

The Aquarius became the source of a heated political row in the EU about the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean.

For the migrants, mainly from Africa, the arrival in Valencia marked the end of a week-long odyssey in the Mediterranean Sea.

The Aquarius crisis was sparked by Italy’s refusal to let the rescue ship dock in any of its ports. Malta, a tiny Mediterranean island nation, also refused, with each country accusing the other of failing to meet their humanitarian and EU commitments.

Spain eventually stepped in and agreed to receive the refugees as a “political gesture” to “oblige Europe to forge a common policy to a common problem”, Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said.

Madrid on Saturday said it had accepted an offer from France — who had angered Rome by branding it irresponsible over the vessel rejection — to welcome Aquarius migrants who “meet the criteria for asylum”.

Two countries will “work together” to handle the arrival, Spain’s deputy prime minister Carmen Calvo said.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez thanked French President Emmanuel Macron for his gesture, saying it was “exactly the kind of cooperation Europe needs” at this hour.

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