311 migrants arrive in Spain onboard Proactiva Open Arms boat

A LIbyan coast guard stands on a wooden boat where more than seven hundred migrants were sailing in to flee Libya, during a rescue operation in the Mediterranean sea, about 13 miles north of Sabratha, Libya, Monday, Aug. 29, 2016. Thousands of migrants and refugees were rescued Monday morning from more than 20 boats by members of Proactiva Open Arms NGO before transferring them to the Italian cost guards and others NGO vessels operating in the zone.(AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
A charity rescue vessel carrying 311 mainly African migrants plucked off Libya docked in Spain Friday, ending a traumatic journey which saw them spending Christmas at sea and several European nations denying the ship entry.

The vessel docked in the port of Crinavis near the southern city of Algeciras to applause and Proactiva Open Arms, the Spanish charity which runs the Open Arms vessel carrying them, feted the arrival with a “Mission accomplished” tweet.

“These are people, both children and adults, who have had really horrible experiences in both their countries of origin and during their journey,” Vicente Raimundo, the director of intervention in Spain for the NGO Save The Children.

He said some of the 139 children aboard came “from countries at war such as Somalia and Syria.”

The migrants started disembarking at around 10:30 am (0930 GMT), with children and women getting off first. They were met by Red Cross officials who gave them clothes and food and conducted medical tests if required.

Police will identify the migrants before moving them to shelters.

The migrants were rescued on December 21 from three vessels but were denied entry by Italy and Malta. Libya, France and Tunisia did not respond to Proactiva Open Arms’ requests for permission to dock, Madrid said.

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