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Saturday, July 31, 2021

Spanish warship with migrants arrives in Spain after Italy row

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Spanish warship with migrants arrives in Spain after Italy row
Spanish warship with migrants arrives in Spain after Italy row

A group of 15 rescued migrants have arrived in Spain on board a Spanish warship, after Italy refused to allow the rescue vessel that had picked them up in the Mediterranean Sea to dock at an Italian port.

Joe Davies reports.

Arriving in a Spanish port on board a Spanish warship on Friday (August 30).

15 African migrants could never have imagined their struggle to reach Europe would end like this.

One by one, they set foot on dry land for the first time in weeks - clutching their entire possessions in just a single bag.

Their perilous attempt to cross the Mediterranean began at least a month ago.

They ended up sailing right into a political spat between Spain and Italy.

The group - of more than 100 - were rescued by the Spanish-registered boat Open Arms. They'd hoped to be taken in by Italy, only to be denied by the country's outgoing far-right interior minister, who has banned ships carrying illegal migrants from docking.

In cramped and deteriorating conditions, they remained stranded for three weeks.

Desperate to reach the shore, some could wait no longer - and tried to swim there.

With the standoff between Italy and the boat's operators showing no sign of abating, five EU countries eventually agreed to accept the migrants.

Having arrived in the port of San Roque in south western Spain, the 14 men and one woman will now undergo health checks and be granted provisional permits until their asylum applications have been resolved.

They'll join some 18 thousand migrants who've arrived in Spain this year - among them more than 200 rescued from three rafts in the western Mediterranean this week.

Meanwhile in Ceuta, another sign of the crisis still facing Europe.

More than 150 migrants successfully crossed the border into Spain's North African enclave.

Around 100 failed to scale the six meter-high fence topped with barbed wire.

Six Spanish police officers were injured in scuffles with the migrants.

The handling of the crisis by Spain's caretaker socialist government is drawing criticism at home.

But whatever measures European authorities take, it seems nothing will deter those dreaming of a better life.


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