A group of 15 rescued migrants arrived in Spain onboard a Spanish warship on Friday after Italy refused to allow the rescue vessel to dock at an Italian port.
The 15 migrants, 14 men and a woman will undergo health checks and will be granted provisional permits until their asylum applications have been resolved, Spain’s government said in a statement.
Madrid had dispatched the ship to pick up the migrants, all of them Africans, after five EU countries agreed to take them in, following a prolonged standoff between the Open Arms and Italian authorities.
Italy’s outgoing far-right interior minister, Matteo Salvini, has banned ships carrying illegal migrants from docking at Italian ports.
Salvini said it was in an attempt to stem the flow of people trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe from north Africa.
According to him, over 150 migrants storm through Spain’s enclave fence.
Rights group Amnesty International said the Open Arms saga, one of a number of similar cases, underlined Europe’s failure to come to grips with the migration crisis.
The handling of the issue by Spain’s caretaker Socialist government drew criticism during a special parliamentary session on Thursday.
Some parties rapped the government for accepting the migrants and others for not doing so more quickly.