Sunday 22 July 2018

Rescue ship carrying 60 migrants arrives in Barcelona

The Open Arms ship was refused entry by Italy and Malta.

Migrants and crew members aboard the Open Arms aid boat arrived in Barcelona (Olmo Calvo/AP)
Migrants and crew members aboard the Open Arms aid boat arrived in Barcelona (Olmo Calvo/AP)

By Associated Press Reporter

A rescue ship carrying 60 migrants has arrived in Barcelona after being refused entry by Italy and Malta.

The Open Arms ship docked on Wednesday and the group including five women, a young child and four teenagers then went through health checks and identification procedures.

It is the second time in a month that a humanitarian group has been forced to travel for days to unload people rescued in the central Mediterranean.

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The Open Arms aid boat was refused entry to Italy and Malta (Eric Alonso/AP)

The Spanish aid group Proactiva Open Arms said the migrants come from 14 countries and are in good health.

The charity, Doctors Without Borders, said more than 500 people have died in the Mediterranean since the Aquarius, another rescue ship, was blocked from ports in Italy and Malta in June.

The Italian government is blocking private rescue boats that it blames for encouraging human traffickers to launch unseaworthy boats loaded with migrants toward Europe.

But the aid groups deny having any link to smugglers in Libya or elsewhere, and say they are being forced to leave the busy migrant route where deaths are mounting.

Authorities in Barcelona granted those on board a 30-day permit to apply for residence or asylum in the European Union. Many have relatives in Germany, Belgium and France.

Doctors Without Borders criticised the EU for abandoning migrants.

“The EU is abdicating their responsibilities to save lives, blocking search and rescue and condemning people to be trapped in Libya,” the group said. “Any deaths caused by this are now at their hands.”

In all, the International Organisation for Migration said 1,405 people have died in the dangerous Mediterranean Sea crossing this year.

Press Association

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