By the Associated Press
People gather to stage a protest after the rescue ship Aquarius has been stuck since Saturday in international waters off the coast of Italy and Malta, both of which have refused it entry, in Turin, Italy, Tuesday, June 12, 2018. Italy dispatched two ships Tuesday to help take 629 migrants stuck off its shores on the days-long voyage to Spain in what is forecast to be bad weather, after the new populist government refused them safe port in a dramatic bid to force Europe to share the burden of unrelenting arrivals. (Alessandro Di Marco/ANSA via AP/ MANILA BULLETIN)
Crew aboard the Diciotti began disembarking passengers in Catania's port early Wednesday. At the same time, the Aquarius vessel of the aid group SOS Mediterranee continued its dayslong westward voyage to Spain, where it was rerouted after Italy and Malta refused it entry.
The fates of the two ships are evidence of the policy shift by Italy's new populist government: refuse entry to rescue ships of European-flagged aid groups, but allow Italian maritime vessels in its ports.
The shift has heightened tensions in Europe, with France accusing Italy of "cynical" and irresponsible behavior.