The Malta Independent 25 April 2019, Thursday

Ship with 64 migrants refused by Malta, Italy, Spain

Rachel Attard Monday, 8 April 2019, 14:51 Last update: about 16 days ago

A ship with 64 migrants is stranded outside Maltese territorial waters as Malta, Italy and Spain all refused it permission to land, sources close to the government told The Malta Independent.

Last Saturday, The Malta Independent had been informed that the Alan Kurdi ship, run by NGO Sea Eye, was on its way to Majorca after Malta and Italy refused it entry.

The 64 migrants had been saved in Libyan waters and had first proceeded to Lampedusa. But Italy would only accept women and children, an offer that was refused by the migrants who did not want families to be split.

The vessel changed course to Malta but, even here, it was not allowed entry into Maltese waters. Spain also refused.

The ship is now at Hurd’s Bank to the east of Malta, and it is up to the captain to decide what to do, the government sources said.

On Friday, Germany asked the European Union to find a safe port for the vessel.

Berlin has asked the European Commission, the EU's executive body, to coordinate the search for a safe port, said Stefan Ruwwe-Gloesenkamp, the spokesman for Germany's Interior Ministry.

He said Friday that Germany trusts "a large number of member states" will be prepared to take in migrants and Berlin is ready to do "its part."

EU spokeswoman Tove Ernst said the commission had initiated contacts among willing states, but said the renewed standoff illustrated the urgent need for "predictable arrangements for disembarkation."

  • don't miss