The Malta Independent 15 August 2020, Saturday

Migration: Boat with approximately 60 people on board detected in Malta’s Search and Rescue zone

Monday, 13 July 2020, 19:58 Last update: about 2 months ago
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Stock image

Migration NGOs have reported a migrant boat, with between 50 to 60 people on board, in Malta's Search and Rescue Zone.

On Monday, Sea-World International posted on their Twitter page saying that their aircraft, Moonbird, spotted the boat in Maltese SAR Zone close to Lampedusa.

They said that they have reported the case to both Italian and Maltese authorities, saying that it is their duty to rescue them immediately.



This boat was first reported by NGO Alarm Phone on Monday morning, saying that they were alerted about this on Sunday, however, their phone connection was bad and they "were not able to father all the needed information and could not verify their position beyond doubt."

In the same post, Alarm Phone later reported that a relative of someone one board the ship informed them of their whereabouts, confirming that it was at the South of Lampedusa and that it has contacted the Italian and Maltese authorities.

No information has been given on whether Maltese authorities have acted.

This is the third migrant boat to be reported this month, with another 180 migrants being held on board of a merchant ship for days which was a topic of controversy due to the conditions they were living in since the ship was dirty and not equipped for human transport. This ship has since then been allowed to sail to an Italian port.

Prime Minister Robert Abela has insisted that Malta cannot take in any more migrants as the centres have reached their capacity and the government is working closely with the Libyan government on the issue in tackle it at its roots.

Libyan migration centres have been criticised by a number of entities including Pope Francis who has said that they are more like concentration camps. However, Abela has insisted that the Libyan government should not be put in a bad light, saying that both governments have agreed that there is need for more operations from UNCR and IOM in Libyan shores and assess the centres' conditions.


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