Custom Search 1

Spain takes in second migrant boat refused by Italy

CROSSING: Migrants stranded on a boat, thirty miles off the Libyan coast wait to be rescued by Royal Marines

A SHIP carrying dozens of migrants has been accepted by Spain after it was turned away by the Italian and Maltese authorities.

The rescue vessel docked in Barcelona yesterday. Onboard were 60 migrants from 14 countries, including two pregnant women.

Oscar Camps, the founder of Proactiva Open Arms, the charity responsible for the rescue ship, said: “We have arrived (in Barcelona) with our cupboards bare but with 60 lives. We have to make do with that for the time being.”

Italy is denying entry to rescue ships as it claims there are simply “taxi services” for people smugglers. Charities working to save those who get into difficulty in the sea have denied these accusations.

Two weeks ago another rescue ship, The Aquarius, was at the centre of a dispute between Italy and Malta. Neither country was prepared to accept the vessel carrying 630 migrants.

Spain eventually accepted the passengers and allowed the vessel to dock in Valencia.

Ada Colau, Barcelona’s mayor, said: “We proved we could do it with the Aquarius and again with Open Arms so it is the duty of all of us, but especially the institutions, to continue doing this in all cases.

“What we cannot allow is that this only happens for high-profile cases in the media. That would be an enormous hypocrisy and one for which we could never forgive ourselves.”

In the last month, the number of people reaching Spain by sea has overtaken those arriving in Italy for the first time.

More than 16,000 people have embarked on the crossing to Italy via the Mediterranean so far this year. Out of those attempting to make the treacherous journey, often in rubber boats, 1,405 have lost their lives already this year.

According to Proactiva Open Arms, more than 220 people drowned in the Mediterranean on route to Europe in one week in June.

Read every story in our hardcopy newspaper for free by downloading the app.

Facebook Comments