Desperate Situation: Migrants Begin Jumping Off Open Arms Ship into Sea to Reach Italy’s Shores; Italian Interior Minister Salvini Refuses to Open Ports to Migrants

  • In desperation to reach Italy, at least 15 additional migrants jumped from the Open Arms rescue ship on Tuesday after spending 19 days on the overcrowded ship where conditions have deteriorated.
  • Despite the peril the migrants are in, Italy has refused to open its ports to the ship to allow migrants “into the southern island of Lampedusa.”
  • Spain announced “it was dispatching a naval ship to escort the aid group’s boat and its passengers to a port in the Spanish island of Mallorca” due to the ship’s onboard situation that has been described as “out of control” and “desperate.”
  • Spain released a statement that read: “After analyzing all the options, this is the most adequate and the one that would allow resolving within this week the humanitarian emergency on board the Open Arms.”
  • However, “the journey of the Audaz warship from its base in southern Spain to Lampedusa is expected to last three days, adding to the ordeal of the migrants.”
  • In recent days, dozens of migrants have been evacuated from the ship due to illness or being underage, but 83 people still remain on board.
  • Early on Tuesday, one person jumped off the ship into the sea “and was rescued by the Italian coast guard, followed by two groups of nine and five more who launched themselves into the sea wearing orange life vests.”
  • All the migrants who jumped were trying to reach Lampedusa, which is only a short distance from the anchored ship.
  • According to a reporter from a Spanish public broadcaster, “the first jumper refused to return to the Open Arms and was brought to Lampedusa instead, prompting others to follow his lead.”
  • The reporter added that “those jumping were desperate and going mad after 19 days trapped on board.”
  • According to Open Arms, the Italian coast guard rescued all 15 jumpers from the sea and took them to Lampedusa.
  • A spokeswoman from the charity operating Open Arms, Laura Lanuza, said “the Open Arms captain previously informed Italian authorities that the crew of 17 can no longer control the situation on board, as frustrated migrants resort to fighting.”
  • Italy’s anti-immigrant Interior Minister Matteo Salvini “has refused port access to the ship, even though six other European countries have agreed to take in the migrants, who were rescued at sea in early August off the coast of Libya.”

Reference Links

  • AP: Desperate migrants jump off rescue ship, seeking Italy READ
  • BBC: Open Arms migrants try to swim to Lampedusa WATCH
  • TIME: At Least 15 Migrants Jump Off Rescue Ship in ‘Desperate’ Attempt to Reach Italy READ
  • Philadelphia Enquirer: Desperate migrants jump off rescue ship, seeking Italy READ

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