Abu Dhabi


New York

Tuesday 20th March 2018

Spain Offers to Receive Open Arms Migrant Vessel


7Dnews London - AFP

Sun, 18 Aug 2019 17:09 GMT

The Spanish government on Sunday August 18th, has offered a port for the disembarkation of 107 migrants, currently stranded off the Italian island of Lampedusa.

The migrants are on board the NGO-operated ship, Open Arms, having been rescued from the Mediterranean 17 days ago, AFP has reported.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez "today ordered the port of Algeciras to be ready to receive the boat Open Arms," which is currently in limbo off the Italian island of Lampedusa, his office said in a statement.

It cited the "urgent situation" on the vessel and the "inconceivable decision by the Italian authorities... to close all its ports" to the migrants.

Italy's far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who is also deputy prime minister, has refused to allow migrant rescue vessels to dock, as part of his hardline anti-immigration policies.

The Open Arms standoff with Italian authorities was the latest between Rome and charity vessels rescuing migrants, mainly sub-Saharan Africans, making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean.

On Friday, August 16th, France, Germany, Romania, Portugal, Spain and Luxembourg, said they were willing to help relocate the migrants.

While the ship was allowed into Italian waters, after a judge overturned a ban issued by Salvini, only the 27 children were allowed to disembark.