The humanitarian boat ‘Open Arms’, which was carrying 60 migrants, docked in Barcelona on Wednesday July 4, as it was scheduled. The ship ended up in Spain after Malta and Italy had rejected it, indicating the differences in the immigration policies of European countries.
Barcelona mayor Ada Colau said that Spain has to continue accepting migrants. In order to make that easier, the permanent reception infrastructure for the arrival of the ‘Open Arms’ boat, must become permanent.
However, Ms. Colau added that Barcelona should not only accept high profile cases, as this would be hypocritical.
According to Reuters, the humanitarian boat is carrying five women and four children of various nationalities including Palestinians, Syrians and Guineans.
Currently, despite the fact that the irregular immigration has decreased, European countries are polarized in their immigration policies.
Namely, during June, Italy’s Interior minister, Matteo Salvini, pledged to no longer let charity ships bring rescued migrants in Italy, leaving the Gibraltar-flagged ‘Aquarius’ stranded at sea for days with more than 600 migrants until Spain eventually accepted them.
In addition, another rescue ship, ‘Lifeline’ experienced a similar situation. Namely, after wandering in the sea without a port to dock, the Maltese Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat said, Malta decided to accept the vessel, and now the procedures for identification, to find out the migrants’ asylum eligibility will start. Moreover, the rescued migrants will be distributed to other EU member states.
Seven countries agreed to share the burden of the migrants, Reuters reported. These countries are Italy, Ireland, France, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands and Portugal.
The ship will now be detained, and its captain will be questioned, as he did not accept to let the Libyan coastguard take the migrants. Mr. Muscat said that allowing the ship to dock in was a one-time solution.
What is more, Malta has detained another humanitarian ship. The Sea Watch 3 vessel requested to leave the port after maintenance was performed to it, but the port authority refused.
Finally, about 100 people have reportedly drowned from a migrant boat off Libya’s western coast, Libyan Coast Guard informed. Libya’s Coast Guard gathered 14 survivors from the boat east of Tripoli.