Migrants rescued by cargo ship refused disembarkation in Malta

Migrants rescued by cargo ship Talia not allowed to disembark • Ship outside Freeport seeking shelter from bad weather

52 migrants are currently aboard a merchant ship in Maltese territorial waters, but have not been allowed to disembark by government, human rights NGO Alarm Phone has said.

According to the NGO, 52 people reached out in distress to it, after Malta’s Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) was uncooperative, stating they hung up the phone “repeatedly”.

According to the merchant ship’s crew, Malta’s RCC promised to trans-ship the rescued to Armed Forces of Malta assets and to disembark them in Malta.

“This did not happen. Talia moved then toward Lampedusa but was denied to enter territorial waters!” Alarm Phone said.

Italy also instructed the Talia to move towards Malta, and away from its territorial waters, which it did, but in turn was denied entry into Maltese territory.

NGO Sea-Watch International also reported on the case, after its reconnaissance plane, the ‘Sea Bird’, spotted the refugees.

Sea-Watch said that according to the Talia’s crew, Malta’s armed forces ordered the ship to proceed with the rescue, pledging to send a patrol boat which was never sent.

 It also said that after its refusal for entry, Italy ordered the Talia to reach Malta.

On Sunday morning Alarm Phone tweeted that the merchant ship, with the 52 aboard, is currently in Maltese territorial waters seeking shelter from bad weather conditions.

According to the NGO, several people are in dire medical condition, after having spent two days without food and water.

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