Updated: Open Arms taking 307 to Spain; Sea Watch 33, situation uncertain

Spanish media (Il Mundo and El Espanol) are reporting that the Spanish government has authorised Proactiva Open Arms to disembark those rescued today in Algeciras, Spain.

This will take approximately four days to sail, but the vessel will need a resupply for the journey ahead.

Those on board the vessel have now been revised to 307 people.

The situation for the 33 migrants on board the Sea Watch Rescue vessel remains uncertain.

Watch: Open Arms rescues 311; Mother, newborn evacuated to Malta

A newborn and his mother were among the 311 rescued by Spanish civil search and rescue organisation Proactiva Open Arms, in one of the at least three search and rescue operations carried out on Friday by the NGO in the Central Mediterranean. The mother and 2-day old baby were subsequently evacuated by the Armed Forces of Malta. 

According to the NGO’s founder, Oscar Camps, the boy was born on a beach in Libya and spent 24 hours at sea before the NGO’s vessel came to their rescue. Camps stated that they have asked Malta to treat the case urgently and evacuate the newborn and mother from the vessel. 

In a statement by the AFM confirmed the medical evacuation saying it took place 57 NM south of Malta and the mother and 2-day old baby were winched to safety and taken to Mater Dei in an ambulance. Newsbook.com.mt is informed that the condition of both mother and baby is stable. 

Rescued asylum seekers at sea with no port of safety 

In a subsequent tweet, the NGO said that its vessel Astral cancelled its return to port to support the vessel carrying 311 people rescued from drowning. The NGO is claiming that Malta denied supplying provisions. The NGO remains without a port of safety where it can disembark the migrants rescued. 

On Saturday, Camps tweeted that just in 24 hours from their arrival to the Central Mediterranean Open Arms had already rescued two boats that were in danger of a shipwreck, at that point more than 200 people, including men, pregnant women, children and babies were rescued by the NGO’s vessel. At least three search and rescue operations took place on Friday by Open Arms.

Italian ports are closed – Salvini

Interior Minister and leader of the far right party Northern League Matteo Salvini in a tweet said that the Italian ports are closed to Open Arms. Salvini said that Malta disembarked a woman and baby, refused to disembark the rest of the asylum seekers rescued. He reiterated that the Italian ports are closed for human traffickers and those who help, a tweet which prompted a reply from Camps who said that one day Salvini’s rhetoric will be over and his descendants will be ashamed of his behaviour in the decades to come.

Civil search and rescue NGO Sea-Watch rescues 33 people

Search and rescue NGO Sea-Watch announced that it has rescued 33 asylum seekers. Sea-Watch had its vessel seized in Malta as well as its reconnaissance aircraft Moonbird grounded in Malta for a number of months before it was allowed to leave port.