87 migrants aboard rescue ship – turned away by Italy – arrive in Spain

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A RESCUE ship carrying 87 migrants from Libya roamed the Mediterranean for two days before docking in Spain yesterday (Thursday).

After being turned away by Italy, the third such vessel to be refused entry, the Spanish owned NGO ship Proactiva Arms dropped anchor in the southern port of San Roque.

This week, Mallorca declared Italy’s interior minister Matteo Salvini a ‘persona non grata’ over his anti-immigrant stance.

The motion, which makes it clear that the far-right minister is not welcome on the island, was presented by left-wing Podemos, the Balearic  Islands’ branch of the Socialist party (PSIB) and the Mes Per Mallorca coalition.

Yesterday’s migrants, nearly all from Sudan including Darfur, spent 50 hours at sea on board an inflatable boat, without drinking water, and many are said to have suffered burns from a mixture of fuel and salt water before being rescued last week.

The NGO said many of those rescued – 75 men and 12 children – were “repeatedly abused in Libya.”   

Spain hastily opened a new migrant reception centre in San Roque as hundreds of migrants make the dangerous sea crossing to the southern coast of Andalucia every week.

In the wake of a crackdown by Libyan authorities and Italy’s hardline approach to the arrival of migrants, Spain has now become the main destination for those trying to get to Europe from Africa.

According to the International Organisation for Migration, more than 23,000 people have arrived in Spain by sea this year with 307 losing their lives in the process.

The Spanish government has said the 87 migrants will be given a 45-day residency permit for humanitarian reasons. 

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