Updated | Migrant rescue vessel Alan Kurdi rescues 44 migrants off Lampedusa

Migrants were transferred to a Maltese army patrol boat and brought to Malta on Tuesday afternoon

The 44 migrants that were rescued (Photo: Sea-Eye)
The 44 migrants that were rescued (Photo: Sea-Eye)

Updated at 6pm with arrival of migrants in Malta

A group of 44 migrants rescued by the NGO ship Alan Kurdi have disembarked in Malta after they were transferred to a Maltese army patrol boat.

The migrants came ashore on Tuesday afternoon at the Armed Forces of Malta maritime base in Haywharf. Children were among those rescued.

Earlier

The migrant rescue vessel Alan Kurdi, operated by Sea-Eye, has rescued 44 migrants, including four women and three children off the coast of Lampedusa.

The children are 15 months, three-years-old and five-years-old, with Sea-Eye saying that the people came from Syria, Libya, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Guinea.

It is understood that the migrants started their journey early Saturday morning in Zuwara. The lates rescue comes on the back of several others as the migration flow across the central Mediterranean has picked up in earnest with the onset of summer.

Only last night, an Italian coastguard disembarked 40 migrants at Pozzallo after they were rescued off the Italian coast.

Sea-Eye said that after the handover of 65 rescued persons to the Maltese authorities on Sunday, the ship set course once again for the Libyan search and rescue zone in the evening.

"Shortly after reaching the zone, the crew heard over the radio how Tunisian fishermen and almost at the same time the civil search plane Colibri reported the distressing case to the Maltese maritime rescue centre," the group said.

"We are incredibly happy that we could be in the right place again at the right time and that we now know 44 more people are in safety. A 15-month-old baby should never have to be in such a life-threatening situation. Hopefully, the Maltese navy will arrive soon, so we can continue our presence in the search and rescue area where we are obviously needed," Sea-Eye spokeswoman Carlotta Weibl said.

The group said its crew offered support to the Maltese authorities and changed course accordingly. It said that the Maltese authorities appointed the nearby freighter MV Iver Best as an on-scene coordinator and thus gave it the authority to coordinate on site.

"On the instruction of the Iver Best the crew of the Alan Kurdi began shortly after their arrival with the distribution of life jackets. Furthermore, the crew of the freighter ordered the embarkation of the people in distress onto the Alan Kurdi," the group said.

The group said that Maltese authorities have indicated “a coordinate to the Alan Kurdi at which the people are to be taken over by the Maltese.” The NGO said at the time of writing the crew was waiting for the arrival of the Maltese Navy. “The Alan Kurdi plans to continue its mission in the search and rescue area off Libya after the handover.”
 

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