SPAIN and five other countries in Europe have offered to take in the 147 migrants who remain on board the charity rescue boat now that Italy has temporarily lifted its ban on undocumented migrants seeking asylum. France...
Richard Gere delivers food to stranded migrant boat Open Arms
By thinkSPAIN Team Fri, Aug 9, 2019
ACTOR Richard Gere took parcels of food to the Spanish rescue boat Open Arms for the 121 migrants on board.
The craft, run by the charity of the same name and one of only two vessels currently working in the central Mediterranean, has been trying for over a week to get authorisation to dock.
So far, Italy and Malta have refused and Spain has not given a straight answer.
Meanwhile, Hollywood star Gere, 69, arranged for boxes of non-perishable food, plus fruit, vegetables and bottles of water, to be delivered by boat to the Open Arms and helped load it on board himself.
The charity tweeted: “Being a father means not caring about colours or borders. Richard Gere is one, too.”
His most recent child was born to his Spanish wife Alejandra Silva, 36, in February.
“Finally, some good news. Provisions are arriving at the Open Arms and we’ve got an exceptional new crew member with us – Richard Gere,” the charity said on its Twitter site, @openarms_fund.
A passionate activist, the Pretty Woman star is actively involved in his Galician wife’s Rais Foundation, a charitable network of homeless shelters in Madrid and the Basque Country, and also owns the Buddhist Centre in Pedreguer, northern Alicante province.
For the moment, the Open Arms remains adrift in the Mediterranean with 121 Africans on board wo were rescued when attempting to make the dangerous crossing to Europe on jerry-built rafts.
Currently in international waters near the Italian island of Lampedusa, the craft has been denied permission to land in either of the nearest safe countries, Italy and Malta, neither of which allows charity vessels into their ports.
Those on board include two children plus twin babies and three pregnant women, one of whom is ‘nine months gone and suffering contractions’ and who bears ‘unequivocal signs of having gone through violence in Libya’, the charity reveals.
Italy’s coastguard, however, agreed to let two heavily-pregnant women and the sister of one of them disembark, since both were suffering from complications which meant they needed professional care should they go into labour.
In Spain, Valencia has offered to let the ship dock, and the regions of Catalunya and Extremadura have offered to help take in and resettle the migrants, but nothing has been made official as yet.
Along with the Open Arms, the German ship Alan Kurdi, named after a toddler who drowned trying to make the crossing from Turkey and owned by the charity Sea Eye, is adrift in the Mediterranean with 40 migrants on board.
Malta’s prime minister Joseph Muscat has said the Alan Kurdi can dock on the island once the migrants’ relocation elsewhere in Europe has been agreed with the German government and European Commission, but stresses that none of them can remain on Maltese soil.
Italy’s interior minister Matteo Salvini maintains Open Arms is a criminal organisation promoting and aiding illegal immigration.
Of the 121 migrants on the Open Arms, the charity’s founder Óscar Camps says: “Their life stories are devastating. Nobody should have to go through this. It’s urgent and a priority for us to find a safe port.”
Photograph: Open Arms on Twitter
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