The Malta Independent 23 March 2019, Saturday

Watch: 20 migrants saved by rescue NGOs, Armed Forces of Malta to leave for Portugal

Tuesday, 26 February 2019, 13:16 Last update: about 24 days ago

A number of migrants who were brought to Malta by the Sea Watch and Sea Eye NGO rescue vessels in January left Malta for Portugal on Tuesday afternoon. 

20 migrants left the country, with the group also including 10 migrants who were rescued by the Armed Forces of Malta. 

The Sea Watch 1 and the Professor Albrecht Penck had been left stranded off Malta for days until a number of EU Member States reached a sharing and resettlement agreement. 

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The vessels had initially been allowed to move closer to Malta because of bad weather but were later allowed to disembark the migrants in Malta. The NGO boats were then instructed to leave Maltese territorial waters. 

A crew from The Malta Independent had visited the Sea Eye vessel, with its captain saying that the vessel had been instructed to move northwards, toward Malta, by the Libyan coastguard. 

The Sea Watch was later involved in another migrant standoff. It was eventually allowed to disembark its human cargo in Catania, Sicily. The vessel remains unable to leave port.

The government, which said the migrants had been saved on three different occasions by the Armed Forces of Malta, said the Maltese authorities worked with the European authorities, the International Organisation for Migration, and in this particular relocation with the Portuguese authorities to assure a swift procedure.

 

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