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Spain makes new offer to help migrant rescue boat off coast of Italy

Spain makes new offer to help migrant rescue boat off coast of Italy

Spain has made another offer to the Open Arms migrant rescue vessel situated off the coast of Italy to dock at the nearest Spanish port.

It’s after the boat with more than 100 people on board rejected a plan to dock in Algeciras because it was too far away.

The migrants, most of whom are African, had been picked up off the coast of Libya in the past two weeks and have been waiting to disembark on the southern Italian island of Lampedusa.

Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has ordered his officials not to let them disembark. However, he made a partial concession on Saturday by allowing 27 minors to leave the boat, saying he had only agreed to this at the insistence of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

Meanwhile, migrants have been jumping off the boat and attempting to swim ashore in the latest sign of desperation in the face of Italy’s refusal to allow it to land. Scuffles too have been breaking out on board.

“Disputes … anxiety attacks … panic … what else do we need? For people to die?” asked charity found Oscar Camps. “Those who didn’t die in the sea need to die here on board Open Arms? Is this what we need? I hope the Italian courts resolve the situation.”

Meanwhile Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini has taken to social media to mock the Spanish offer, saying it was designed to cast him as a rascist.