Asylum seekers welfare agency asks for access to Captain Morgan vessels hosting migrants

Agency for the Welfare of Asylum Seekers officials request to board Captain Morgan boats holding migrants outside of Maltese territorial waters

Two groups of migrants are currently being hosted on Captain Morgan boats outside of Maltese territorial waters
Two groups of migrants are currently being hosted on Captain Morgan boats outside of Maltese territorial waters

Malta's Agency for the Welfare of Asylum Seekers (AWAS) has requested access to the two Captain Morgan ships hosting migrants rescued at sea.

Times of Malta reported a source within AWAS - the State agency which overseas the welfare of refugees, persons enjoying international protection and asylum seekers - as saying that the government had not yet given them the all clear to board the vessels.

The source said the lack of access having been granted might indicate that the government could possibly fear a negative assessment of the conditions on board the boats.

Yesterday, Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri disputed claims made by NGO Alarm Phone that some of the migrants had gone on a hunger strike.

Camilleri said in Parliament that no information to this effect had been passed on to him.

The two groups of migrants currently on board the tourist vessels were rescued at sea between April 30 and May 7.

On April 30, the Maltese government arranged for the transfer of 57 people rescued the day before by a private fishing vessel to the Europa II, a 34.75-meter tourist ferry boat owned by Captain Morgan Cruises Ltd.

On May 7, an Armed Forces of Malta patrol boat rescued 45 people and coordinated the rescue, by a fishing boat, of 78 people.

While all 18 women and children were reportedly taken ashore, the other 105 people were transferred the same day to the Bahari, a 23.59-meter tourist ferry boat owned by the same company.

That group was subsequently transferred, on May 15, to the Atlantis, a 39.6-meter ferry boat also owned by Captain Morgan Cruises.

Malta is insisting that it will not allow any more migrants into its ports until an agreement is found with the EU for their relocation amongst other member states.

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