Spanish navy commander dies in Antarctica waters

A Spanish navy commander travelling on board an oceanographic research ship in the icy waters of Antarctica fell overboard and died, the defence ministry announced on Saturday.

Spanish navy commander dies in Antarctica waters
A handout photograph released by Louisiana State University on Friday, shows Adélie penguins on sea ice next to Comb Island, Danger Islands, Antarctica. Photo: Michael Polito / LSU / AFP
It was unclear why Javier Montojo Salazar fell from the ship on Friday evening, not far from the Spanish “Juan Carlos I” base on Livingston Island.
Rescuers searched for his body for six hours before finding it, the ministry said in a statement.
The Hesperides ship is now travelling to Ushuaia in Argentina to start the process of repatriating the body.
Defence Minister Maria Dolores de Cospedal tweeted her condolences to Montojo's relatives and loved ones. “Rest in peace,” she said.
Hesperides is a ship that conducts research into marine biodiversity and other issues, and is also used to provide supplies to Spanish bases in Antarctica given its hull is reinforced, allowing it to navigate in icy waters.


Spanish naval ship arrives in Italy to take in 15 rescued migrants

A Spanish navy patrol boat sent to Lampedusa to pick up 15 migrants from the charity rescue ship Open Arms arrived Friday off the southern Italian island, the Spanish government said.

Spanish naval ship arrives in Italy to take in 15 rescued migrants
Spanish naval ship, Audaz, will set sail for Lampedusa. Photo: Spanish Navy / Ministerio Defensa

The Audaz will pick up 15 migrants who arrived in Lampedusa on the Open Arms, Spain's quota of migrants agreed with France, Germany, Portugal and Luxembourg.

“The navy ship Audaz has arrived in Lampedusa,” government spokeswoman Isabel Celaa told a news conference.

Lampedusa has long been a magnet for African migrants fleeing poverty andconflict.    

It was not yet clear when the ship will begin its return trip as the 15 migrants still need to go through administrativeprocedures in Italy, Celaa added.

Madrid on Tuesday dispatched the Audaz to take all of the migrants who were aboard the Spanish vessel, stranded off Lampedusa for days because Rome refused to let them set foot on Italian soil.

But just a couple of hours later an Italian prosecutor ordered that the roughly 80 migrants still aboard the Open Arms be allowed to disembark, raising doubts over the mission of the Spanish navy boat.

The Spanish government then decided that the Audaz would continue its trip to Lampedusa to pick up the 15 migrants Madrid had agreed to take in.   

Initially the Open Arms carried 147 mainly African migrants, but all the minors and some suffering health problems disembarked before the ship was finally allowed to dock.

Many of the migrants had spent 19 days aboard the ship after being picked up while trying to make the perilous voyage from Libya to Europe in small boats.

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