Migrants jump overboard from rescue ship after being denied port in Italy
Italian coastguards rescued more than 10 migrants wearing life jackets who had jumped from a rescue ship stranded off southern Italy and tried to swim to shore Tuesday, according to a Spanish charity in charge of the ship.
Almost 100 migrants were on-board the Open Arms ship at sea for 19 days. The vessel was waiting off the port of Lampedusa, seeking permission to bring the mostly African people to shore, according to Reuters.
The boat was stranded due to an Italian ban on the docking of private rescue ships, which has created ongoing problems under the right-wing interior minister Matteo Salvini, who took office last year.
Minors and sick migrants have been transported ashore, but the remaining people are still sleeping and living together on deck, according to Reuters.
Italy argues it has taken on too much of the responsibility in African migration to Europe, with Salvini, who is anti-migration, calling these charity-run ships “taxis” for human smugglers.
But the charity calls the situation a desperate one and warns that some migrants are suicidal.
Spain has said it is sending a naval ship to escort the Open Arms and the people on it to a port on the Spanish island of Mallorca, The Associated Press reported.