Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez “today ordered the port of Algeciras to be ready to receive the boat Open Arms”, which is currently in limbo off the Italian island of Lampedusa, his office said in a statement.

It cited the “urgent situation” on the vessel and the “inconceivable decision by the Italian authorities... to close all its ports” to the migrants.

The rescue ship rejected Spain’s offer to dock in Algeciras, a six-day journey away, citing an “extreme” emergency situation on board.

“We do not accept Spain as a port to go because we are in a state of extreme humanitarian emergency. What they need is to be disembarked now,” an Open Arms spokeswoman said.

“It is unthinkable to navigate for six days; that is what it would take for us to arrive to Algeciras.”

At least four migrants, wearing life vests, jumped into the sea on Sunday to try to swim to the Italian island of Lampedusa.

Italy’s far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini on Saturday reluctantly authorised 27 migrant children rescued at sea to disembark from the charity vessel anchored in limbo off Lampedusa for days.

In a letter, Salvini told Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte he could authorise the “alleged” minors to leave the Open Arms ship despite it being “divergent to my orientation”.

However, the remaining 105 adults and two accompanied children must stay on board in what the charity Proactiva Open Arms said were “untenable” conditions.

Salvini has refused to allow the vessel to dock despite other European countries having agreed to take in the people on board.