Open Arms ship carrying 218 not allowed at EU ports

Baby evacuated, many others require urgent medical attention

16 March, 16:46

    ROME - A tense standoff continued on Friday concerning the Spanish NGO Proactiva's Open Arms ship, which on Thursday rescued 218 migrants.

    The Libyan Coast Guard ordered the ship to hand over the people it had rescued, including by threatening the use of force. ''For having refused to give the Libyans the migrants rescued,'' Proactiva founder Oscar Camps said, ''protocol prohibits us at the moment from landing in a European port.'' But the medical team, he stressed, ''has asked for the immediate evacuation of the people in the most serious condition onboard. We are in any case headed north.'' Regulations call for the authorities of the country that coordinated the rescue operation - Libya, in this case - to indicate the port of arrival, but Open Arms does not recognize the authority of the North African country. The country of the flag that the ship bears - Spain - has been asked to seek a solution. A three-month-old child in serious condition - dehydrated and suffering from scabies - on her mother were evacuated on Friday from the Proactiva Open Arms ship.

    ''Onboard,'' a tweet by the NGO stated, ''there are many women and children in critical condition.''

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