A charity rescue vessel carrying mainly African migrants plucked off Libya docked in Spain, ending a traumatic journey which saw them spending Christmas at sea and several European nations denied the ship entry.

NGO Proactiva Open Arms' rescue boat is seen docked with migrants rescued in central Mediterranean Sea, at the Center for Temporary Assistance to Foreigners (CATE) in the port of Algeciras, in Campamento, Spain on December 28, 2018.
NGO Proactiva Open Arms' rescue boat is seen docked with migrants rescued in central Mediterranean Sea, at the Center for Temporary Assistance to Foreigners (CATE) in the port of Algeciras, in Campamento, Spain on December 28, 2018. (Reuters)

A Spanish aid boat carrying over 300 migrants rescued at sea arrived in Spain on Friday, ending a weeklong journey across the western Mediterranean.

The boat, operated by the nonprofit group Proactiva Open Arms, docked at the Spanish port of Algeciras.

TRT World's Assed Baig reports. 

The boat rescued 313 migrants in waters near Libya last week, but had to travel to Spain after Malta denied it permission to dock and Italy and other countries refused to help. Three of the migrants were later evacuated for health reasons.

Oscar Camps, head of Proactiva Open Arms, said Friday that the group of migrants included "19 different nationalities, with many people with the right to ask for asylum."

TRT World spoke to Sharon Walia, a documentary filmmaker,  who explains whether the distinction between economic and war zone refugees is valid.

In June, Spain opened its ports to another aid ship belonging to SOS Mediterranee Sea and Doctors Without Borders carrying over 600 rescued migrants after Italy and Malta refused to let it dock.

According to the UN refugee agency, over 2,200 migrants have died trying to cross the Mediterranean this year in unseaworthy smugglers' boats while 119,336 have reached Europe.

Source: AP