Rescued migrants disembark in Malta after 2-week standoff

Source:Xinhua Published: 2019/8/25 8:11:03

The Maltese government confirmed that 356 migrants were brought to Malta Friday night on board of a patrol vessel of the Maltese Armed Forces (AFM) after they were transferred from the Norwegian-flagged charity ship Ocean Viking two weeks ago.

The asylum seekers were brought to the AFM Haywharf naval base in Floriana at around 10 p.m. local time (2000 GMT).

Humanitarian groups The Doctors Without Borders and SOS Mediterranee that operate the Ocean Viking announced on Friday afternoon that the migrants will disembark in Malta after a deal was reached among the European Union (EU) member states.

The transfer of the migrants to the AFM's patrol boat took place outside the Maltese territorial waters.

"All 356 migrants will be relocated to other (EU) member states," a statement from the Maltese government read, stressing that none will remain in Malta.

The migrants will be transferred to France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal and Romania, according to the statement.

Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that Malta agreed to be part of the solution following discussions with the European Commission and a number of member states.

The Maltese authorities reiterated that none of the rescue operations were carried out within the Maltese area of competence or under its authorities.

The 356 migrants were rescued in four separate operations from four rubber boats from Aug. 9 to Aug. 12. The group is composed of 249 men, 4 women, 103 minors of which 92 are unaccompanied. Three children are below the age of five.

The claimed nationalities of the migrants are Senegal, Ivory Coast, Mali, Gambia, Chad, Nigeria, Guinea, Sudan, South Sudan, Libya, Ethiopia and Eritrea, according to the information provided by SOS Mediterranee.

Posted in: EUROPE

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