50 people rescued by Open Arms; Farrugia and Salvini bickering on Twitter

Proactiva Open Arms
Proactiva Open Arms

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Leader of the Italian Mission of the NGO Open Arms, Riccardo Gatti, said he does not know where the 50 immigrants aboard the ship will be taken.

Gatti told Italian Media that aboard the ship, there were people from Palestine, Syria and Guinea. He said that they were all healthy.

According to Reuters, Gatti said that Open Arms did not receive any instructions to dock in a port.

Earlier on:

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini in a tweet said that the vessel that belongs to the Spanish non-governmental organisation Open Arms has taken it upon itself to save some 50 people at sea before the Libyan coastguard could intervene.

He also claimed that the ship is in the Libyan search and rescue and that the Spanish flagged ship has Malta as its closest safe port. He already warned that Open Arms will not be allowed into Italian ports. The situation seems to echo the situation with MV Lifeline which developed last week.

He then ended his tweet by saying ‘Stop the human trafficking mafia: the less people leave, the less people die.’

Libyans aboard Open Arms said that they do not want to return to Libya fearing torture whilst the Open Arms crew members have assured them that they will be taken to Spain.

Maltese Home Affairs Minister Michael Farrugia reacted to the claims by Salvini on Twitter saying that the vessel is in Libyan territorial waters and Lampedusa is the closest port.

Nhar il-Ħamis l-ANSA qalet li l-Open Arms xtaq jittrakka f’Malta jew fl-Italja iżda li dawn irriffjutaw. L-Open Arms diġà salva aktar minn 5.000 immigrant mill-għarqa.

Fost l-immigranti li hemm abbord l-Open Arms, jidher li hemm ħames nisa, tifla ta’ disa’ snin u tliet adoloxxenti.