August 20, 2019 / 1:50 PM / a month ago

Italy welcomes Spain's decision to send navy for Open Arms migrants

Migrants swim after jumping off the Spanish rescue ship Open Arms, close to the Italian shore in Lampedusa, Italy August 20, 2019. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy’s Transport Minister has welcomed Spain’s decision to send its navy to pick up migrants on board the Open Arms charity ship and take them to Spanish shores.

“I hope that Spain answers our appeal and commits to stopping Open Arms in the future with the means and in the ways it deems right,” Toninelli said in a statement.

The Open Arms, at sea for 19 days with almost 100 migrants onboard, has been waiting just off the Italian port of Lampedusa asking to bring the migrants ashore despite an Italian ban on private rescue ships docking.

Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; editing by Pamela Barbaglia

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