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The Italian Minister of Transportation offers to escort the ‘Open Arms’ to a Spanish port

August 20, 2019


Italian Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli has offered on Monday that members of the Italian Coast Guard escort the rescue ship 'Open Arms' and the 107 shipwrecks that travel there to a Spanish port.

“We are willing to take, with our Coast Guard, to an Iberian port to all migrants who are on board the Open Arms,” ​​said the minister through his page on the social network Facebook.

In addition, Toninelli has stressed that Spain must carry out the first step and remove its flag from the ship.

Hours earlier, the director of Open Arms Italia, Ricardo Gatti, has raised the possibility of disembarking the 107 shipwrecked people who are in the rescue ship as a previous step for sending them by plane to Madrid.

Gatti has explained that in addition to saving time at sea to rescued people, it would also mean a cut in public spending used in displacement. Thus, he recalled that last year the transfer to Spain of the 'Aquarius' meant about 250,000 euros in expenses for coastguards in assistance work. In contrast, sending migrants by plane to Spain would be cheaper, according to Gatti.

The NGO Proactiva Open Arms has informed late Monday that they have received authorization to evacuate eight people in need of urgent assistance and a companion from the rescue ship.