On Tuesday, Madrid said it would accept 60 people, while Portugal offered to welcome 30, with the remainder distributed between France, Germany and Luxembourg, government sources in Malta and Spain said.
The boat was initially refused entry by Italy and Malta after it had rescued the refugees and migrants in two separate missions off the Libyan coast on Friday.
There are 67 unaccompanied minors, two children under the age of five and two pregnant women on board, its crew reported.
The Aquarius, which hit the headlines in June after being stranded with 630 migrants on board, causing a major diplomatic dispute, resumed its rescue operations off Libya last week.
Spain’s new socialist government helped resolve the first standoff by allowing the boat to dock in Valencia and was again at the forefront on Tuesday.
“Spain has coordinated a pioneering agreement with six countries to share the hosting of the people on the Aquarius … Spain will take 60 people,” Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez wrote on Twitter.
Translation: Spain has coordinated a pioneering agreement with 6 countries to distribute the reception of #Aquarius people. It has been possible thanks to the path that we undertook in June, promoting a common and supportive response to the migratory flows. Spain will welcome 60 people.
España ha coordinado un acuerdo pionero con 6 países para distribuir la acogida de las personas del #Aquarius. Ha sido posible gracias al camino que emprendimos en junio, impulsando una salida común y solidaria a los flujos migratorios. España acogerá a 60 personas.
— Pedro Sánchez (@sanchezcastejon) August 14, 2018
Malta later said it would allow the ship’s passengers, including unaccompanied children from Somalia and repressive Eritrea, to disembark.
“Malta will be making a concession allowing the vessel to enter its ports, despite having no legal obligation to do so,” said a government statement posted on Twitter.
Malta in a statement called the arrangement a “concrete example of European leadership and solidarity.”
We will continue working with @sanchezcastejon on #migration and so many other issues, and thank him for his valuable collaboration on #Aquarius. #Malta and #Spain have common aims for #Europe and the #Mediterranean -JM
— Joseph Muscat (@JosephMuscat_JM) August 14, 2018
Its government also noted that it had rescued 114 migrants at sea on Monday – 60 of whom will also be distributed among other EU nations.
Dimitris Avramopoulos, the European commissioner for migration and home affairs, also commended the joint resolution.
Welcome the decision of Malta to authorise the disembarkation of the #Aquarius. I commend France Spain Germany Portugal and Luxembourg for their solidarity to take a share of the migrants on board. We need sustainable solutions. This is the responsibility of the EU as a whole.
— Avramopoulos Dimitris (@Avramopoulos) August 14, 2018
Though departures from Libya have fallen dramatically this year, people smugglers are still pushing some boats out to sea.
An estimated 720 people died in June and July when charity ships were mainly absent, Amnesty International estimates. The UN International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has documented the deaths of 1,524 people while trying to enter Europe by sea in 2018.
EU border agency Frontex said on Monday it counted 73,500 “irregular border crossings” into the bloc so far this year via the sea and the Western Balkans route, more than 40 percent fewer than in the first seven months of 2017.