Updated | Over 100 migrants rescued by AFM patrol vessel

114 migrants, including children, were spotted during a routine border patrol and rescued by an AFM patrol vessel 

A child walks down the gangway after the Armed Forces of Malta rescued 114 migrants at sea (Photo: AFM)
A child walks down the gangway after the Armed Forces of Malta rescued 114 migrants at sea (Photo: AFM)

Over 100 migrants onboard a rubber dinghy were spotted during a routine border patrol and rescued by an AFM patrol vessel.

114 migrants, including men, women, and children, were spotted in difficulty 53 nautical miles south of Malta. The rubber dinghy was taking in water when it was found, however, all migrants were rescued by an AFM patrol vessel.

The migrants were picked up from a sinking dinghy 53 nautical miles south of Malta (Photo: AFM)
The migrants were picked up from a sinking dinghy 53 nautical miles south of Malta (Photo: AFM)

The migrants were brought to Malta and disembarked this evening at the AFM maritime base in Floriana. Medical personnel were on standby to offer assistance. 

Aquarius rescue was nowhere near Malta

Meanwhile, the government has reacted to a second migrant rescue carried out by the NGO vessel MV Aquarius over the weekend, following international appeals by the organisation for EU countries to allow disembarkation.

Italy and Malta have both refused permission for the Aquarius to enter harbour and disembark some 140 migrants picked up at sea. The ship is currently anchored between Malta and Italy.

The government said the Aquarius rescue was carried out off the Libyan coast. "The rescue was closer to Libya, Tunisia and Italy (Lampedusa) in an operation, which was coordinated by the Libyan authorities. Malta was neither the coordinating nor the competent authority for such a rescue, and therefore has no legal obligation to make the arrangements to provide for a place of safety. The requests for such vessel to enter ports are unwarranted and without legal standing," the government said.

The Maltese authorities said they were monitoring the situation and in touch with overseas counterparts.

Malta has always insisted that it stood by the international convention, which stipulated that people should be disembarked at the closest, safest port.

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