The Malta Independent 23 April 2024, Tuesday
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Malta ordered two ships not to rescue boat with 400 migrants – rescue NGO

Monday, 10 April 2023, 13:36 Last update: about 2 years ago

Malta ordered two ships not to rescue passengers on board a vessel adrift with around 400 migrants, rescue NGO Sea-Watch has claimed.

Rescue hotline NGO Alarm Phone said it received a call from a migrant boat on Easter Sunday which departed from Tobruk, Libya. Sea-Watch reported on Twitter that “the boat is struggling with 1.5m waves.”

Sea-Watch claimed that two merchant vessels were ordered by Malta not to rescue, and one of the vessels was asked: “to only supply the boat with fuel.” Sea-Watch added that a merchant vessel supplied fuel and water to the migrant boat but it did not rescue them “following orders from Malta.”

“Why only fuel instead of rescuing? If the boat keeps moving, it might reach Italy & Malta does not have to accept the people. Malta rather takes the enormous risk of 400 people dying than care for these people themselves — migration policy in the EU.”

The last update, Sea-Watch gave was that the Italian Coastguard set out to rescue the migrants. Rescue NGO Alarm Phone also said that it was informed that the Italian Coastguard sent the vessel Diciotti to rescue the migrants.

“Malta must be held accountable for the ruthless ignorance. Preventing the rescue of people for political calculation must be punished!”

Sea-Watch said that Easter Sunday was not a quiet time as it spotted 19 boats in distress in the Mediterranean from its reconnaissance aircraft.

Also, on Easter Sunday nearly 1,000 migrants landed in Lampedusa, Sicily. There were a total of 26 boats carrying 974 migrants, Italian media reported.

The migrants told Italian authorities that they had left from Zarzis, Chebba, Jebiniana and Kerkenna in Tunisia and that they had each paid $4,000.

NGO ResQship, with its boat Nadir, rescued 22 persons and lifted two dead bodies out of the water, it said on its Twitter feed. It said another 23 are believed to have died in the “European cemetery which we call Mediterranean”.


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