The Malta Independent 23 April 2024, Tuesday
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44 migrants brought to Malta after Italy’s ‘refusal’ to take them in

Wednesday, 17 October 2018, 18:34 Last update: about 7 years ago

44 migrants who were picked up by a merchant vessel on Monday were disembarked in Malta after Italy’s ‘refusal’ to take them in, the government said.

On 15 October, following RCC Malta’s notification from a wooden boat with persons in difficulty, a merchant vessel was diverted to the area to render the necessary assistance. A total of 44 migrants were subsequently rescued by the merchant vessel. The migrant boat was intercepted 58 Nm South of Lampedusa, the government said in a statement.  

“Following the refusal of Italy to provide for the nearest place of safety, shelter and logistical support to the ship and in view of deteriorating weather conditions affecting the area, in the best interest of the safety of the rescued migrants, the AFM deployed an offshore patrol vessel in adverse weather conditions to transfer the migrants on-board.” 

The migrants, who are on board the Just Fitz III bulk carrier, were expected to arrive in Malta at around midnight on Wednesday.

The disembarkation of these people is being administered without prejudice to Malta’s position to international law, the government said. 

Italian Home Affairs Minister Matteo Salvini was quoted as saying that the ship would not be allowed in Lampedusa. Salvini said it was a pity that the migrants had already been picked up by a merchant ship (instead of by the Maltese armed forces). At the time the ship was some 30 miles south of Lampedusa.


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