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The cruise ship MSC Armonía, with around 1,500 passengers on board, has been detained in the port of Barcelona since Tuesday because of 69 Bolivian passengers who are alleged to not have valid visas essential for their entry into the Schengen area. The company has told Europa Press that the documentation, now identified as false, of these passengers "seemed" to meet the requirements when they embarked in the Brazilian port of Rio de Janeiro, but that the authorities at the port of Barcelona do not consider it so. "As a result, the passengers have not been able to disembark in Barcelona," explained MSC. The ship remains docked in the Catalan capital's port while efforts continue with the authorities to resolve the incident.

In a statement, the foreign ministry of Bolivia explains that there are 69 affected passengers and that both the country's embassy in Spain and the consulate general in Barcelona are working to respond to the situation. The ministry gives more details about the case: "The ship is understood to have left Brazil to cover a route in the Mediterranean Sea. Since our compatriots do not have the documents to enter the Schengen area, they have difficulty disembarking at ports in Europe", explains the text. The final stop of this cruise, which began in Barcelona, is in Croatia. The Bolivian authorities are coordinating with the company in question to "offer appropriate consular assistance to the Bolivian citizens for the respect of their human rights."

According to the newspaper El País, before docking in Barcelona, the cruise stopped at another Spanish port: Tenerife, in the Canary Islands. There, all the passengers, including the 69 Bolivians, were able to disembark without any problems and return to the ship with the documents they were carrying. When they arrived in Barcelona this Tuesday, however, the police did not let them disembark.

Bolivia says it is the company's duty and demands an immediate solution

In this regard, the Bolivian authorities assert that it up to the company to find an "immediate solution" for the passengers trapped on the Armonía without the necessary documentation to disembark at the port of Barcelona: "The [firm's] obligation was to check the documents for entry to and departure from any destination that they offer in their services in order to avoid this kind of unexpected problem', which affects almost seventy people.