Malta to allow hundreds of migrants to disembark following deal with six countries
The 356 will be distributed among France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal and Romania.
Malta has said it will allow 356 migrants aboard a humanitarian ship in the central Mediterranean Sea to disembark after six European countries agreed to accept all of them.
In a series of tweets, Maltese prime minister Joseph Muscat said the migrants will be transferred from the Ocean Viking to vessels of the country’s armed forces before taking them on shore.
Following discussions with @EU_Commission and a number of Member States, namely #France and #Germany, #Malta has agreed to be part of the solution in the #OceanViking stalemate, which has 356 person on board, without prejudice to its legal position. 1/2— Joseph Muscat (@JosephMuscat_JM) August 23, 2019
#Malta will transfer these persons to @Armed_Forces_MT vessels outside territorial waters, and will take them onshore. All #migrants will be relocated to other Member States: France, Germany, #Ireland, #Luxembourg, #Portugal and #Romania. None will remain in Malta -JM 2/2— Joseph Muscat (@JosephMuscat_JM) August 23, 2019
The Norwegian-flagged rescue ship has been sailing between the island of Linosa and Malta.
It was kept of sight of land, fearing that could agitate the traumatised passengers.
BREAKING: After 14 days of unnecessary suffering all 356 people onboard #OceanViking will finally disembark to #Malta— MSF Sea (@MSF_Sea) August 23, 2019
While some #EU States finally stepped up with a humane response to this humanitarian disaster in the Med, a predictable disembarkation mechanism is needed now! pic.twitter.com/t2rTfKL4Wi
Requests for a safe port were previously denied by Malta and ignored by Italy, according to Doctors Without Borders and SOS Mediterranee, the two charities running the ship.
The 356 will be distributed to France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal and Romania.