A humanitarian boat with 59 migrants on board was rescued off Libya and is now heading to Barcelona, after Italy and Malta refused to allow the ship dock in their ports.
As Reuters reported, the ship Open Arms received authorization by Barcelona to dock there, on Saturday, June 30. In a tweet, the city’s mayor critisized Italy’s and Malta’s decision not to permit the ship to dock and informed that it will arrive in Barcelona on Wednesday, July 4.
The humanitarian boat is carrying five women and four children of various nationalities including Palestinians, Syrians and Guineans.
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.
Finally, last week 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.