[WATCH] Sea-Watch doctor says situation is 'dire' for stranded migrants

Migrants rescued by the Sea-Watch 3 have been on board for more than 14 days as Malta and Italy continue to refuse a port of entry for the NGO vessel

The two NGO rescue ships are stranded just off Malta's coast after no European country has allowed them to disembark 49 people rescued after leaving Libya
The two NGO rescue ships are stranded just off Malta's coast after no European country has allowed them to disembark 49 people rescued after leaving Libya

Migrants rescued by the NGO vessel Sea-Watch 3 are in "a dire situation", the onboard doctor has reported as Malta and Italy continue to refuse the ship entry into their ports.

The 32 migrants onboard, which include children, have been stranded on the ship for 14 days after no European country has granted permission for the disembarkation.

A second NGO rescue ship - the Professor Albrecht Penck - run by Sea Eye, is carrying another 17 migrants and has also been refused entry into Maltese and Italian ports.

Both ships were allowed to enter Maltese territorial waters last Wednesday to shelter from bad weather.

In a video message from the Sea-Watch, doctor Frank Dorner appealed for a resolution "as soon as possible" to the political standoff that is preventing the NGOs from disembarking migrants in safe European ports.

In a press conference on Sunday evening, the NGO reported that some migrants onboard the ships were suffering from dehydration and some had even stopped eating.

The NGO also defended the method of rescue after doubts were cast by Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat on Sunday morning. The NGO said the migrants had left from the Libyan port city of Zuwara onboard a dinghy. They were noticed by a spotter plane and taken on board the ship after they showed signs of distress.

On Sunday, Muscat insisted that Malta did not want to create a precedent by allowing the two ships to disembark in Malta. The rescue happened outside Malta's area of competence and the closest, safest prot of call would have been Tunisia or Lampedusa.

READ ALSO: As Pope appeals for solidarity, Malta PM vows not to allow in migrant rescue NGOs

Italy has steadfastly refused to open its ports.

While talks at an EU level are ongoing to find a solution, Pope Francis on Sunday also appealed for European solidarity with the 49 migrants stranded on the two ships.

 

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