After two and a half weeks at sea, Spain has officially offered the refugee rescue vessel Open Arms a safe haven in Andalusia. "I have arranged that the port of Algeciras should be activated for the reception of the #OpenArms," tweeted the Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez on Sunday. "Spain is always involved in humanitarian emergencies." With the offer Sánchez responded to the situation of migrants on board, as the government in Madrid announced. "The incomprehensible reaction of the Italian authorities and, in particular, of the Interior Minister Matteo Salvini to close all ports" led Spain to take this step, the newspaper El País quoted from a government statement.
Italy's Interior Minister Matteo Salvini had landed 27 unaccompanied minors from the Open Arms on the Italian island of Lampedusa on Saturday after a long dispute, but 105 adults and two accompanied minors had to stay on board. The ship belongs to the Spanish non-governmental organization Proactiva Open Arms.
The situation on the Open Arms was so devastating that several migrants jumped into the sea, wrote the founder of the aid organization Oscar Camps. "We have been warning for days that despair has its limits." While the Open Arms waited in front of Lampedusa, the Spanish TV station RTVE showed images of exhausted and angry migrants. "People lose patience and are very nervous," said a reporter on board. Six EU countries, including Germany and Spain, had agreed in advance to accept the refugees from the Open Arms .