Dozens of migrants jump from boat to boat aid organisation in Italy

Some 70 migrants have jumped off a ship of the Spanish action group Open Arms off the coast of Italy. They tried to reach the southern city of Palermo while swimming, but were intercepted by the police and coastguard.

The migrants who jumped off the ship were part of a group of some 270 people. They had been rescued on the Mediterranean Sea by the crew of the ship Open Arms, of the organisation of the same name which aims to protect asylum seekers who are trying to reach Europe by boat.

The ship carried out several rescue operations between 8 and 10 September, but it has not yet become clear where these migrants can be landed. The coastguard has already disembarked two pregnant women and one of their husbands. They are receiving medical assistance.

Italy has for years been an important gateway to Europe for migrants crossing the sea on boats. They often leave from Libya. Italy has closed its ports to private lifeboats because of the corona crisis. The Italians also support the Libyan coastguard, which is trying to stop migrants boats.