A humanitarian boat carrying 59 people rescued off the Libyan coast has been denied entry by Malta and Italy and is heading to Spain.
The rescue vessel, Open Arms, run by the Spanish Proactiva Open Arms charity said it was heading for Barcelona on Sunday after Italy and Malta, both much closer to the place of rescue, had refused to let it dock in their ports.
In a tweet, Open Arms denounced the “inhuman policies and closed ports in Italy and Malta” and said the boat would arrive in Barcelona on Wednesday.
Barcelona’s mayor Ada Colau tweeted “Thank you for doing the most difficult part, saving lives, and thank you for not giving up in the face of cruel and inhuman European policies.”
“Barcelona awaits you with open arms,” Colau added.
Open Arms said the rescued people included five women and four children, and were of various nationalities including Palestinians, Syrians and Guineans.
This is the second time Spain is taking in people rescued at sea in a matter of weeks. On 11 June, Spain offered to take in another charity rescue boat, Aquarius, with 629 migrants aboard, after Italy and Malta closed their ports.