Migrants on-board Open Arms disembark

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Migrants on-board the Open Arms rescue ship disembarked the vessel at the Italian port of Lampedusa late last night after spending 19 days stranded at sea.

It comes after an Italian prosecutor ordered the seizure of the ship.

Almost 100 migrants, rescued off the coast of Libya, had been on the ship — and Tuesday saw 15 of them jump off the boat in a desperate bid to escape deteriorating conditions.

Open Arms in Lampedusa port, southern Italy
A view of the Spanish NGO rescue ship Open Arms docked at the port of Lampedusa, southern Italy, 21 August 2019. At the dock, doctors visited the refugees, who were then invited to board buses that after procedures would take them to relocation hotspot. EPA-EFE/ELIO DESIDERIO

The Spanish government said it would send a navy ship to the Italian island of Lampedusa to escort the Open Arms rescue ship back to Spain.

An Italian prosecutor on Tuesday ordered the more than 80 remaining migrants on the Open Arms charity vessel to disembark in Sicily after the ship was stranded for days off Lampedusa.

Open Arms in Lampedusa port, southern Italy
Migrants disembark from the Spanish NGO rescue ship Open Arms at the port of Lampedusa, southern Italy, 21 August 2019.In picture is seen doctor Francesco Cascio (R-with mask), the head of the Lampedusa Clinic. At the dock, doctors visited the refugees, who were then invited to board buses that after procedures would take them to relocation hotspot. An Italian public prosecutor on 20 August ordered the confiscation of the ship and the immediate evacuation of the migrants on board to the island of Lampedusa after inspecting the vessel on 20 August. EPA-EFE/ELIO DESIDERIO

Prosecutor Luigi Patronaggio also ordered the vessel  seized after inspecting the boat on which some of the migrants have spent 19 days and “given the difficult situation on board,” a judicial source said.

Spain and four other EU states agreed to take in migrants stranded for weeks on the Open Arms rescue ship, EU authorities said on Wednesday, ending a prolonged standoff with the Italian government over their fate.

Via ANSA

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