The Spanish rescue ship Open Arms, with 121 migrants onboard, has been waiting for seven days to disembark at a safe port in Europe. The ship is stranded near Lampedusa, Italy, after being denied permission to dock by Malta and Italy. It now awaits the Spanish authority’s response to its request for disembarkment. The ship, operated by the Spanish NGO, Proactiva Open Arms, rescued the migrants from the perilous Mediterranean Sea on two occasions this week.
According to reports, Spain is delaying the process by re-directing the ship’s request to the European Union. But the provincial government, as well as the mayor of Valencia in Spain, have welcomed the refugees and requested the Spanish government to permit the ship to dock at the port of Valencia. The Catalonian provincial government and the Barcelona mayor also expressed their willingness to receive the migrants.
Seven months ago, Proactiva Open Arms was banned by the Spanish government from undertaking rescue missions in the Mediterranean Sea, citing lack of facilities in the vessels. But in June, the NGO resumed its operations, defying the ban.
Italian far-right interior minister Matteo Salvini has closed down the country’s ports to rescue ships that are involved in rescuing refugees who try to escape the war-torn North African countries through the perilous Mediterranean route on unseaworthy boats.
Earlier, in December 2018, the Open Arms rescue ship had disembarked 300 migrants at Port Crinavis in San Roque, Spain.