Migrant rescue ship asks Malta for shelter

The humanitarian vessel Alan Kurdi is carrying 64 people rescued off Libya last week

64 people, who were rescued off Libya's coast last week, are aboard the Alan Kurdi (Photo: Sea-Eye)
64 people, who were rescued off Libya's coast last week, are aboard the Alan Kurdi (Photo: Sea-Eye)

The Alan Kurdi humanitarian ship, carrying 64 people who were rescued off Libya’s coast, has sent a request to Malta asking for shelter from bad weather.

The people on board the ship were rescued last week, after a distress call was forwarded by the Watch The Med alarmphone to the Libyan coast guard and to the Alan Kurdi.

On Saturday, the German-registered ship, run by NGO Sea-Eye, started heading towards Malta after aborting an evacuation in Italy. The evacuation was halted by the NGO because the Italian authorities insisted on only taking in children and mothers, separating them from their fathers.

Twelve women, one of whom is pregnant, two children and 50 men are aboard the ship, together with a number of Sea-Eye volunteers, bringing the total to 81 persons.

It is currently in international waters, around 22 nautical miles to the South East of Malta.

The Alan Kurdi is currently around 22 nautical miles off Malta's coast (Photo: MarineTraffic)
The Alan Kurdi is currently around 22 nautical miles off Malta's coast (Photo: MarineTraffic)

The request for shelter in Maltese waters comes as the European Commission urged member states to arrive at solution, saying it was prepared to lead a diplomatic effort in this regard.

“Contact with member states started on Friday and continued over the weekend. It is ongoing, and we hope a solution is found soon,” European Commission spokeswoman Tove Ernst said.

Ernst said that the Commission had been in contact with European Union countries which appeared ready to show solidarity with the people on board the ship.

The case of the Alan Kurdi “shows once again how urgent finding a solution to the issue of landings is,” she said, adding that the Commission was committed to finding a lasting, long-term European solution.

This latest episode comes after renewed fighting in the outskirts of Tripoli, with the Libyan National Army headed by Khalifa Haftar advancing towards Libya's capital.

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