The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Turkey has announced it will present the Hope Refugee Award to the captain of the Turkish cargo ship Pinar E, Asik Tuygun, and owner Baris Erdogdu.

UNHCR's Turkey representative Michel Gaude, told a press conference said that Mr Tuygun and Mr Erdogdu said this was recognition of the way the ship had saved 142 migrants when the refugees were about to die in the sea.

"The award is given to those individuals who help refugees in difficult conditions and make their lives easier. We hope that the behaviour of captain Asik and owner Erdogdu will be a good role model," Gaude was quoted as saying by Turkish media.

The ship picked up the migrants off the Italian island of Lampedusa, and a diplomatic storm then developed as Italy refused to allow them in, and so did Malta.

Italy argued that Malta was responsible for the search and rescue region and should therefore take the migrants, while Malta said the migrants should be taken to the nearest safe port.

Italy eventually relented and the migrants were taken to Sicily.

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