A French Interior Ministry source has claimed France is negotiating a deal to help land 151 migrants aboard a vessel belonging to Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms.
The government say they have been in contact with the European Commission to look for a resolution to the current situation which has seen the NGO vessel denied access to several European ports including Italy and remain at sea for the past 13 days, El Pais reports.
A source in the Interior Ministry told the Spanish newspaper: “Just like every other time this kind of situation has come up, France is taking the initiative and actively contributing to the search for a solution at the European scale to disembark and take in the rescued individuals.”
The confirmation of negotiations comes after the NGO petitioned several countries, including France and Germany, to request the European Commission distribute migrants across the political bloc in the hope that it may allow them to dock in Italy or another country that had previously rejected them.
They appear to be uninterested in finding a safe African port.
Salvini Victory: NGO Ship Gives Up on Landing Migrants in Italy, Heads to Malta https://t.co/rsCfjP02z8
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 4, 2019
Italy’s populist interior minister Matteo Salvini has previously demanded other EU nationals take migrants before allowing vessels access to Italian ports, and even required such an agreement before letting migrants picked up by an Italian coastguard vessel disembark.
Sources within the Spanish government have also claimed that the Spanish are involved in a potential deal but have so far not provided much in the way of details on what their participation, if any, would be in relocating the migrants onboard the Spanish-based NGO vessel.
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) also recently began migrant transport operations off the coast of Libya after cancelling their mission in December of last year. Their vessel, the Ocean Viking, has made several pick-ups over the past week and currently claims to have 356 migrants on board.
The Ocean Viking has also requested port entry and could face a similar situation to Proactiva Open Arms, although the NGO noted it had raised several million euros — money that could be used to pay the now million-euro fines enacted by the Italian government for those who enter Italian waters without permission.
Migrant NGO Captain Demands Europe Take over 500,000 Migrants https://t.co/pwyrrCcSgE
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 16, 2019