Spain to allow Open Arms migrants to disembark in Mallorca

Date: 
August, 2019
Country: 
Italy
Malta

Open Arms say they understand that the Spanish government will allow them to disembark in Mallorca, as it is the nearest Spanish port to the embattled vessel.

"Now, after 18 days of stagnation, Italy and Spain seem to have reached an agreement, identifying Mallorca as a port of disembarkation," it said in a press release.

However, the charity have expressed concern over the time it would take to sail the boat to a Balearic port as they are currently based off the coast of Italy and the journey would significantly exacerbate the already trying conditions on board.

The Spanish government denied that any agreement had been made in consultation with Italy in this regard.

The stranded migrants, most of whom are African, have been at sea for 18 days, and hoped to disembark on the southern Italian island of Lampedusa instead.

However, Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini ordered his officials not to let them but he made a partial concession on Saturday by allowing 27 minors to leave the boat, saying he had only agreed to this at the insistence of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

Meanwhile, migrants have been jumping off the boat and attempting to swim ashore in the latest sign of desperation in the face of Italy’s refusal to allow it to land. Scuffles too have been breaking out on board.

"Disputes ... anxiety attacks ... panic ... what else do we need? For people to die?" asked charity found Oscar Camps. "Those who didn't die in the sea need to die here on board Open Arms? Is this what we need? I hope the Italian courts resolve the situation.”

Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini has taken to social media to mock the Spanish offer, saying it was designed to cast him as a racist.

“Those who stick it out are the ones that win,” he said. He also accused those migrants who were allowed to disembark on humanitarian grounds of lying about their age and their illnesses.