Italy offers port to Open Arms, carrying 73 shipwrecked migrants
11 minors and injured already brought to land by the coast guard
11 minors and injured already brought to land by the coast guard
The warnings come from the conclusions of a new report presented in Barcelona today
NGO founder says four children are on board the Catalan vessel, which has not been allowed entry to Maltese borders
Proactiva Open Arms returns to country after standoff with anti-immigration politician
The rescue NGOs call on cities, organizations, and citizens to step up “against the unjust and inhumane policies of Europe”
Red Cross coordinates humanitarian and social intervention of 60 migrants saved by Open Arms organization
The Port of Barcelona has been opening new regular routes for container transportation in the last few months, improving the connections with strategic markets in the Americas, Asia, West Africa and the Mediterranean area. An example of this trend is the new route served by MNM African Shipping Line, a company founded this year based in the port of Tanger-Med and working for transport and logistics firms from Morocco and Nigeria. This new line will be using vessels with a 2,500 TEU container capacity to connect the Catalan capital with major ports in North and West Africa such as Tangier, Casablanca, Agadir, Nouakchott, Dakar, Conakry, Lagos, Tema and Abidjan, covering an area with some 300 million people.
The Catalan Government and the regional governments of Sicily and Provence are promoting a manifesto requesting the European Union to meet the challenge of the humanitarian crisis taking place at the Mediterranean Sea. ‘We are all Mediterranean’ aims to strengthen the commitment at regional level to face and solve this crisis, since the EU and the Member State governments “are not up to the challenge”. In addition, the Catalan Government also confirmed the organisation of a summit of Mediterranean regions to be held in July in Barcelona “to work together and see in which way the regions can give a more comprehensive answer” to the drama suffered by so many refugees crossing the sea on fragile boats. In Strasbourg, the Vice President of the Catalan Government, Joana Ortega, invited the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, as well as those of Sicily, Provence-Alps-Cote d’Azur and Western Greece, Rosario Crocetta, Michel Vauzelle and Apostolos Katsifaras, and Lampedusa’s Mayor, Giusi Nicolini, to attend the summit.
The Euromed ministerial conference held in Barcelona on Monday 13 April has ended with agreement on a number of initiatives to fight jihadist terrorism. The informal meeting gathered together the foreign affairs ministers of 22 European Union Member States and 10 southern Mediterranean countries and is the most important Euromed conference since 2008. They discussed irregular immigration, trade and Islamic terrorism. In regard to the latter, they agreed on increasing cooperation and information exchange between them to face this threat, as well as improving the education offered to young people, so as to avoid recruitment by jihadist activists, explained the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and European Commission Vice President, Federica Mogherini. Besides this, the Spanish Foreign Affairs Minister, José Manuel García-Margallo, also insisted on his proposal to create an International Penal Court for Terrorism.
In front of the foreign affairs ministers of 22 European Union Member States, those of the southern Mediterranean countries and the Spanish PM, Mariano Rajoy, gathered in Barcelona for a summit on trade and the fight against jihadism, the Catalan Government President, Artur Mas, said in his opening speech that "Catalonia and Barcelona were born as Mediterranean and have developed as both Mediterranean and European". The Catalan President, who addressed the audience in Spanish, English, Catalan and French, also stressed that Catalonia's future horizons are "always Mediterranean and European", underlining "the umbilical cord with Europe and the Carolingian Empire that has never been broken". "We have the vocation of being a Mediterranean and European capital city", he added. In turn, Rajoy highlighted that Barcelona is "the Spanish capital of the Mediterranean".
The Catalan Government presented this week a first draft of the urban plan that is developing for the 800 hectares surrounding PortAventura theme park, in the Costa Daurada, near Tarragona. The $6 billion holiday resort BCN World is supposed to be built in this area, which is now being promoted by the Catalan Executive itself after the private investor Veremonte did not meet the final deadline for buying the land in December. The urban plan foresees towers of 20 to 25 floors and the construction of 500,000 square metres of tourist and residential-use areas between the Las Vegas style casinos and the beach. Veremonte and its partners Melco, Hard Rock, Caesar’s Entertainment, Melià and Value Retail continue to be involved in the project, along with other investors such as Investindusrial (which owns PortAventura), Ferrari (which wants to build its first European theme park there) and Perelada (which owns other casinos and luxury hotels in Catalonia).
This January, Grimaldi, the multinational logistics group specialised in maritime transport for major vehicle manufacturers’ world suppliers, has launched a new ferry called the “Florencia” to connect the Catalan capital and Savona, an Italian port located about 50km west of Genoa. This investment allows the company to double the frequency between the two harbours. The brand new “Florencia” is 186m long and can carry 1,000 passengers and 170 cars. It makes three trips per week: at midnight every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, reaching its destination the next day at 6pm.
Beyond Barcelona, other port cities in Catalonia that are also cruise ship destinations are closing the 2014 season with positive results. The Ports of Palamós and Roses in Girona’s Costa Brava (northern Catalonia), and that of Sant Carles de la Ràpita in the Ebro Delta (south of Tarragona Province) will be closing this season having brought a total of 43,000 passengers on 50 cruise ships. This will have generated a total of €3 million for the local economy. The Port of Palamós has had its second best season in history with 38,616 passengers and 36 cruises. The Port of Roses closed the season in October with 10 cruise ships bringing a total of 3,700 passengers, while that of Sant Carles de la Ràpita brought a total of 4 ships and half a thousand passengers to the region. The city of Tarragona, which received approximately 2,000 passengers in 2013, is hoping to double these figures for 2014. Moreover, the Port Authority of Tarragona is planning to build a new terminal over the next four years, with a goal of bringing 40,000 or 50,000 passengers per year when completed.