AFTER a long time searching for a European port to moor up in, The Open Arms has been refused permission to enter the Italian port of Lampedusa but it has been offered refuge by Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, Romania and Luxembourg.
The Open Arms, which is currently carrying 147 migrants that were rescued at sea, was allowed to enter Italian waters but the coastguard stopped it five miles from the shore. It is likely that by the end of the day the Italians will let the ship dock for a period of time whilst the migrants are dispersed amongst the six countries willing to help.
The EU maritime accord permits any ship at sea access to the closest port if it is in danger but the other side of the argument that the European border patrols have been basing their inaction on is that the closest port to the boat was at some point Tunisia.
Vice-president of Italy Matteo Salvini, who has publicly denounced The Open Arms, has commented on Twitter saying that ‘we are alone against everyone’ in the battle to deny the rescue ship safe port.
The European Commission has unofficially started proceedings to distribute migrants across the six countries.