Bolivian passengers removed from cruise ship in Spain due to visa issues

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Spanish authorities have revealed that Bolivian passengers who had problems with their visas from a Croatia-bound cruise ship were stranded in a port in Barcelona as authorities sorted out the matter.

In a statement, the Spanish government said an agreement with the MSC cruise company, where 69 Bolivian passengers were removed from the cruise ship and taken to a transit zone at the port. However, they were not allowed to enter the country, reports Schengen Visa Info.

SchengenVisaInfo had earlier reported that the plane was stuck in Barcelona and Bolivian passengers were not allowed to leave until further notice.

The Bolivian passengers were transferred to a special plane.

MSC Cruises has agreed to reserve another boat from Italy for passengers from Bolivia, so thousands of passengers stranded on cruise ships can continue their journeys. However, it is not yet public whether the Bolivian travelers will remain in Barcelona until their visa issues are resolved.

Passengers were in possession of appropriate documents upon boarding in Brazil. We have been informed by the authorities that visas are not valid for entry into the Schengen area. As a result, passengers were unable to disembark in Barcelona, ​​their final destination.

MSc Cruise

The company also expressed its commitment to provide food and healthcare to passengers during this time.

Earlier, Solange Duarte, Bolivia’s ambassador to Spain, said she had been told that the affected passengers had been tricked into obtaining fake visas, while Spanish authorities expressed concern that it could be a fake visa scam.

We have asked the family to tell them who processed the visa and have not received a response.

Solange Duarte, Bolivian diplomat in Spain

Authorities will decide on the cases of 69 Bolivians stranded in Barcelona.

Bolivians are denied access to Spanish territory because they do not have a valid Schengen visa – with Spain being a Schengen member state. According to a source in the Spanish Interior Ministry, the group of citizens also had forged documents.

They will be transferred to another boat, while authorities process their cases and decide whether to deport them or grant them asylum status.

Juan, a Bolivian man whose son was among those detained, said he had relied on a travel company for the documents.

We don’t know if they will be deported. Right now, we’re in a wait-and-see moment where we don’t know if a solution will emerge.


The cruise ship began its journey in Brazil, arrived in Barcelona this week and was scheduled to depart for Corsica. Officials have expressed concerns that this could be a new irregular migration route from Latin America to Europe.

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