11 Apr, 2024 @ 17:32
1 min read

Spain finally deports Bolivians who arrived in Barcelona earlier this month on a cruise ship carrying fake visas

SIXTY-FIVE Bolivians were finally deported from Spain today, after their arrival in Barcelona on a cruise ship earlier this month caused chaos for passengers, given that the group was in possession of fake visas.

Only four of the 69 Bolivian nationals who were on the MSC ship, which docked in the Catalan capital on April 2, have been allowed to stay, according to a report in Spanish newspaper El Pais

They are three siblings from the same family, and the daughter of one of these. Their parents are residents of Girona and the father has Spanish nationality. 

Read more: Cruise ship stranded in Barcelona with passengers confined due to set sail for Venice today, after Spain begins deportation of 69 Bolivians on board

An MSC cruise ship in a file photo.

The rest, however, were taken by bus from the port today where they have been held since the MSC Armonia docked.

From there they were due to be flown to Santa Cruz, which is the second-biggest city in Bolivia. 

The cost of the flight will be covered by MSC. 

The cruise set sail from Brazil in mid-March, and was due to make a series of stops in the Mediterranean before reaching its final destination of Venice, Italy. 

However, the dream holiday turned into a nightmare when the ship arrived in Barcelona, given that none of the 1,500 passengers were allowed to disembark due to the fake visas in possession of the group of Bolivians. 

The falsified documentation was not initially detected by MSC, even once the passengers had boarded and the ship had set sail. 

But when it was sent to the Spanish authorities ahead of the vessel’s arrival, the alarm was raised. 

Police sources told El Pais that the documents had been ‘very crudely’ faked, while sources close to MSC claimed they had a ‘certain sophistication’. 

The cruise ship was finally allowed to leave the port last Wednesday with the other passengers aboard. The Bolivians, meanwhile, were held in an MSC ferry until they were officially deported.

The Spanish authorities rejected asylum requests that were filed by some of the group. 

Relatives of the Bolivians, who were at the port when the ship arrived expecting to receive them, told reporters on the scene that their family members had been the victims of a scam, and that they had been sold the tickets by a travel agent who claimed that the package included valid visas to live and work in Spain. 

Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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