Madrid sending navy vessel to escort Open Arms migrants to Spain

Madrid sending navy vessel to escort Open Arms migrants to Spain

But the Spanish navy will only reach Lampedusa in three days and the Open Arms repeatedly said that the situation on board was desperate and some migrants were suicidal.

Calvo also insisted that the commission must "take decisions" to have a coordinated European response for those rescued in the Mediterranean Sea.

"The Agrigento prosecutor's office is about to order the impounding of the ship and the disembarkation of the people [on board]", he said, adding that he expected to face accusations of abuse of office for failing to guarantee adequate health and safety conditions on the rescue vessel.

"What else can we do?" she asked.

Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced his resignation on Tuesday, accusing Salvini of sinking the ruling coalition for personal and political gain.

Robles accused Salvini of putting human lives at risk for "absolutely electoral reasons" and classified the actions of the Italian politician as "a shame for all humanity".

But Spain has changed its approach since then, saying that worldwide marine laws and European Union regulations require that rescued people need to be taken to the closest and safest port.

But for Tove Ernst, a commission spokeswoman "it is the prerogative of member states to bring cases in front of the European Court of Justice or worldwide courts".

"After 19 days, we will disembark today in Lampedusa".

The Spanish Government has offered its closest ports as a safe haven to the NGO vessel, Open Arms, which has been refused entry to Italy with over 100 migrants on board. We don't understand the position of the Open Arms.

The announcement came after 15 migrants jumped into the water in desperation to try and swim to Lampedusa after days stuck on board. They "must do whatever is necessary to stop the NGO", he said on Facebook.

A spokeswoman for the charity, Laura Lanuza, said she heard from Open Arms crew members that "those who remain aboard are threatening to jump as well". Reuters footage later showed another five people jump.

"Nine people have thrown themselves into the water trying desperately to reach the coast of Lampedusa. The ship will be seized temporarily, but it is a cost that Open Arms assumes to ensure that people on board can be served", he said on Twitter.

In a statement, Madrid said the Audaz vessel will be dispatched at 5pm on Tuesday (11pm Singapore time) to accompany the Open Arms aid vessel to the Spanish island of Mallorca, adding that it sees the move as "the most appropriate option in resolving the humanitarian emergency".

The Spanish government said it had not received a clear answer from Open Arms on how it would like to proceed.

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