After a gruelling 9-day journey at sea, a total of 629 rescued migrants arrived in the Spanish port of Valencia on Sunday.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez offered to take the ship in, meaning it had to travel an extra 700 nautical miles after plucking the migrants from unstable boats off the coast of Libya.
The first of three vessels entered harbour soon after dawn and the migrants rescued near Libya last weekend by the Aquarius ship then disembarked.
The Aquarius charity-run rescue ship arrived in the Spanish port of Valencia on Sunday, a week after Italy refused to let it dock.
The acceptance by Spain marked the close of an exhausting ordeal that began when the charity rescue boat was barred from entering ports in Italy and Malta, leaving the migrants on board, including 100 children and seven pregnant women, stranded at sea.
The migrants came from 26 countries. Most of them from Africa but others are from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, according to medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières.
Spain’s new socialist government has promised free healthcare and says it will investigate each asylum case.
The migrants have sparked a political storm about Europe’s migration policy.