“The Open Arms Set Sail” announced the founder of the eponymous Spanish NGO, Oscar Camps, on 4 November 2020 on Twitter. The humanitarian ship has left the port of Barcelona for the Libyan coast, where it will help boats in distress.
Currently, the Open Arms is the only lifeboat in the Search and Rescue (SAR) zone. Blocked by the Italian authorities for several weeks for «irregularities», the majority of humanitarian vessels had to suspend their missions.
For the Open Arms, the last mission was in mid-September when it rescued 250 migrants in the Mediterranean before transferring them to an Italian ship. Following this operation, the vessel returned to Spain for modernisation and renovation work, which enabled it to acquire “new security and prevention measures tailored to coronavirus and technology needed to diagnose infectious diseases such as Covid-19, TB and HIV.” In addition, the Italian NGO Emergency has sent medical personnel to provide the necessary care on board.