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18 April 2019

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The Spanish government now allowed the OPEN ARMS and another rescue vessel AITA MARI a former Basque fishing vessel converted into a migrant rescue vessel to set sail for Greece to deliver aid supplies to migrants.

“After being blocked in the port for 100 days, the vessel OPEN ARMS will set sail, but without authorisation to enter the SAR (search and rescue) zone of the central Mediterranean,” Proactiva Open Arms said in a statement.

The OPEN ARMS is headed for Samos and Lesbos carrying blankets and other supplies. The AITA MARI , run by the Humanitarian Rescue Service group, will bring medical and sanitary supplies to the camps on the islands of Lesbos and Chios.

She’s the former STELLA BARIS BERRIA built in 2002 and currently heading to Chios arriving on Monday 22nd April in the morning.

The NGOs face fines from 300,000 to 900,000 euros ($340,000 to one million dollars) if they venture without permission into official search and rescue areas in the Central Mediterranean, AP reports.

Blocked in Barcelona – The blockage of the OPEN ARMS has marked a change in the pro-migrant policy of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s minority socialist government which came to power in June. During an interview broadcast on March 31 on Spanish TV channel La Sexta, Pope Francis criticised the Spanish government’s decision to block the ship in Barcelona, calling it “a great injustice”.

Proactiva Open Arms operates between Libya and southern Europe to aid migrants in distress at sea. The NGO says it has rescued nearly 60,000 lives since it was founded in 2015.


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