The Malta Independent 25 September 2020, Friday

Malta accepts group of rescued migrants, but says it will not allow more disembarkations

Thursday, 9 April 2020, 21:13 Last update: about 7 months ago
File Photo
File Photo

A group of migrants on a boat in Malta's Search and Rescue Zone will be rescued, a statement by the Maltese government read, while highlighting that after this Malta will no longer allow more landings due to the COVID-19 situation in the country.

In light of the COVID-19 outbreak in Malta, a situation that caused Malta to declare a public health emergency, the government said that it is not in a position to guarantee resources for mass rescues.

This is being said, the statement read, so that migrants who have the intention to travel to Malta will know the risks that they are putting themselves in. "This is why it is in their interest not to put their lives at risk through perilous voyages and go to countries that cannot offer them a safe place."

The statement read that Malta was under disproportionate pressure in terms of irregular migrant arrivals, and received near to no tangible help. "Over the years, thousands of lives were saved regardless."

"Since the Health Superintendent declared a public health emergency, the govenrment decided that the disembarkation of irregular migrants in the country, who could be infected with the virus, seriously prejudices the work that is being done against the virus, while the Maltese authorities are not in a position to offer a safe place for the migrants during a very challenging period for the health sector, law enforcement and migrant centres."

"The current situation requires all local resources, including AFM personnel, to be completely focused on the fight against the spread of the virus."

The statement read that to curb the spread of the virus, travel to the country was stopped with the closing of the airport and the ports.

The statement read that the legal notices issued recently and the situation in the migration centres were also taken into consideration.

"Malta is not in a position to offer a safe place for the disembarkation of migrants without compromising and prejudicing the functionality, logistics infrastructure and security structure, as well as the work done by the health authorities to contain COVID-19."

The statement read that no more disembarkations will be allowed from any ships, nor from boats operated by NGOs. In addition, resources to assist irregular migrants will not be guaranteed.

A letter was also sent to the European Commission highlighting the above.

The migrants being rescued this evening will be kept in detention.


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