If NGO vessel rescue migrants would be fined for $1 million - Spain warns | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

16 July, Tuesday


If NGO vessel rescue migrants would be fined for $1 million - Spain warns

Spain’s Merchant Marine warned NGO for rescuing migrants

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Merchant Marine chief Benito Nunez Quintanilla warned NGO Open Arms that it was not authorised to conduct rescues in the southern Mediterranean, according to leaked letter.

Spain’s Merchant Marine, a government directorate, has reportedly threatened Spanish NGO Open Arms with fines of up to 901,000 euros (around $1,011,960 USD) should it rescue migrants in danger of drowning in the Mediterranean, prompting outrage from rights groups and Spanish citizens alike, TRT World reports.

A letter signed by Benito Nunez Quintanilla, the highest representative of the Merchant Marine, warned Oscar Camps, the captain of the Open Arms vessel, that it may not undertake “search and rescue operations” that do not conform to the authorities of the search and rescue zone (SAR), Italy and Malta, and that it may not “initiate navigation with the purpose” of conducting such operations.

Otherwise, the NGO could face fines of 300,000 euros (roughly $334,000) or the previously mentioned 900,000 euros (roughly $1m) , as well as being ordered back to a Spanish port where the boat would be ‘paralysed’, the letter, obtained by Spanish daily El Diario, said.

Open Arms operates in the sea between Libya and southern Europe, aiding migrants and asylum seekers who face difficulties and danger in their crossing from North Africa.

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