A number of migrants have jumped from the rescue boat Open Arms into the Mediterranean Sea to try to swim to the Italian island of Lampedusa, the NGO Proactiva Open Arms said on Tuesday.
The boat, with 98 migrants on board, is very close to Lampedusa but the Italian Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini refuses to let it land on the Italian coast.
“Nine people dived into the water, in despair, in an attempt to reach the coast of Lampedusa,” explained the Spanish organization that operates the ship. The crew members and the Italian coastguard pursued them and brought them back on board.
In the last 48 hours, other migrants have tried the same operation, but to no avail. During the night, nine people were evacuated for medical reasons and brought to Lampedusa.
According to the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia, which quotes Defence Minister Margarita Robles, the Spanish government will offer a solution to the Open Arms impasse “in the coming hours”.
Migrants have been stranded on board the boat for 19 days now.