Salvini ‘factually incorrect’ on location of migrant rescue vessel

The Maltese government has rejected a tweet by the Italian Home Affairs minister that Malta was the closest safe port to a ship carrying some 59 rescued migrants

The Open Arms is currently in Libyan waters carrying almost 60 rescued migrants
The Open Arms is currently in Libyan waters carrying almost 60 rescued migrants

The Maltese government has rejected claims by Italian Home Affairs minister that the closest safe port to a ship currently carrying rescued migrants.

In a tweet on Saturday morning, Salvini said that the Open Arms, a rescue vessel operated by the Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms, and which is currently carrying 59 rescued migrants, was closer to Malta.

“This ship, the Open Arms, is currently in Libyan search and rescue waters, closest port is Malta, NGO with a Spanish flag: forget entering an Italian Port,” Tweeted the minister.

A spokesperson for the Maltese government who said Salvini was factually correct in his claim, and confirmed that rescue interception was carried out in the Libyan search and rescue zone, in an area where the closest European port was Lampedusa.

In a tweet Malta's Home Affairs minister Michael Farrugia clarified that the rescue had in fact taken place closer to Lampedusa.

"Stop spreading inaccurate news implicating Malta for no reason," Farrugia told Salvini, adding that he was publishing a map for all to see. "These are facts not opinions"

According to Spanish MEP Javi Lopez, who is currently on the Open Arms, among the 59 migrants are 4 minors, two of whom are unaccompanied. The migrants, he said, were safe and come from up to 14 different countries.

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