The Latest: Migrant charity official: Boat won’t break law

U.S. & World

The Open Arms vessel with 107 migrants on board is anchored off the Sicilian vacation and fishing island of Lampedusa, southern Italy, Monday, Aug. 19, 2019. Open Arms on Monday suggested chartering a plane to fly to Spain the migrants blocked off the coast of Italy aboard its boat since early August, to end a stalemate with the Italian Interior minister Matteo Salvini, who won’t let private rescue boats into his nation’s ports. (AP Photo/Salvatore Cavalli)

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MADRID (AP) — The Latest on migration issues in Europe (all times local):

9:50 p.m.

A Spanish humanitarian group’s founder says the Open Arms rescue boat with 107 migrants isn’t aiming to breaking the law and dock in Italy.

An Italian crackdown on charity rescue ships forbids those boats from entering Italy’s ports.

Asked by The Associated Press in a phone interview Monday night if Open Arms might do what a German NGO captain did recently in forcibly docking at Lampedusa island, Oscar Camps said “we have no intention of disobeying” the law. The migrants are in their 18th day aboard Open Arms, which is anchored off the Italian island of Lampedusa.

Camps also said Italy’s coast guard offered to transport some of the migrants to Spain, but Open Arms said they must take them all.

Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli says Italy also offered to escort Open Arms to Spain.

___

1:35 p.m.

A Spanish humanitarian rescue boat carrying 107 migrants who have been aboard for nearly three weeks has rejected the possibility of taking the passengers to a Spanish port in the Mediterranean Sea, saying even though it is closer than mainland Spain, it is still too far.

In a statement Monday, Open Arms said Spain’s offer of docking in the Balearic Islands between Italy and Spain, was “incomprehensible,” given the distance and the conditions on its boat. The ship is currently docked off the Italian island of Lampedusa, hundreds of miles to the east.

Italy’s hard-line interior minister, Matteo Salvini, refuses to let the boat dock in Italy.

Open Arms said it would consider Spain’s offer if a better and faster vessel were provided.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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