SPANISH maritime authorities have granted the Open Arms rescue boat permission to leave harbour and take supplies to refugees in the Eastern Mediterranean after 100 days spent more in Barcelona.
Officials have given the boat permission to sail for the Greek islands of Lesbos and Samos to deliver humanitarian aid to refugees in camps there.
It comes after authorities prevented it from leaving, accusing the Proactiva Open Arms NGO which runs the boat of failing to comply with international agreements and docking rules.
Proactiva Open Arms founder Oscar Camps said volunteers had been denied the chance to do something to help migrants and refugees stranded in the Mediterranean while it remained docked.
Preparando la salida a contrarreloj.
Una cadena de voluntarixs y tripulación a toda máquina para cargar toneladas de comida, útiles de higiene, material escolar, hasta bicis, para los campos en #Samos y #Lesbos
Gracias, equipo! 💪🏿#FreeOpenArms ahora sí pic.twitter.com/5LtOMUZmPr
— Open Arms (@openarms_fund) April 17, 2019
Camps previously called on Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to stop blocking the boat and to live up to his rhetoric about migration being a common challenge for Europe.
The boat is due to leave port today (Friday). The Open Arms has been active in rescuing migrants stranded in the Mediterranean for about four years and is estimated to have saved hundreds of lives.