Malta allows 49 migrants stranded off coast since December to disembark

10 January, 2019, 17:34 | Author: Myra Gill
  • 39;Sea-Eye' docked in Malta in December

Seventeen people on board another ship and 249 rescued migrants already in Malta will also be divided up between the eight countries as part of the deal, Malta said.

As well as Italy, Germany, France, Portugal, Ireland, Romania, Luxembourg and the Netherlands have agreed to take in some of the group, Muscat said.

The Netherlands is one of eight countries which will take in some of the 32 migrants who have been living on a boat since they were rescued from off the coast of Libya almost three weeks ago.

The Sea-Watch 3 ship, which is run by a German humanitarian group, picked up 32 people from a boat off the coast of Libya on December 22. "This represents a confession of state failure, policy must not be made at the expense of people in distress".

Earlier this week, Sea-Watch said some of those aboard were distraught about the stalemate, which left the boat at the mercy of rough seas for many days.

Priority will be given to vulnerable people including women and children, according to EU Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos, who welcomed Italy's cooperation but said that a system was needed to avoid such emergency solutions in future.

He underlined that Europe can't count "on disorganized, ad hoc solutions" to manage such cases, and he called for the long-stalled reform of European Union asylum rules to be concluded.


Alter said eight countries have now indicated their willingness to take in the migrants but talks are ongoing with more.

"Malta is a very small country", he said.

The migrants have been stranded off the coast of Malta on two boats since late a year ago, with some suffering from dehydration and seasickness.

"Whether it's eight or 88, I'm not authorizing anyone to enter Italy", Salvini told reporters in Poland, during a visit to his allies in the right-wing populist government there.

A mother and a child disembark from a patrol boat in Malta.

Both Italy and Malta refuse to allow private rescue vessels to dock at their ports.

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