Delia urges government to take in 507 migrants stranded at sea

‘Whilst we are enjoying the summer vacations - as is our right - men, women and especially children are stranded on rescue boats in the scorching heat’

507 migrants are currently stranded at sea on board two NGO rescue ships (Pictured: migrants aboard the Ocean Viking/MSF Twitter)
507 migrants are currently stranded at sea on board two NGO rescue ships (Pictured: migrants aboard the Ocean Viking/MSF Twitter)

Adrian Delia is urging the government to take in over 500 migrants who are currently stranded at sea aboard two humanitarian rescue vessels.

In a lengthy appeal on Facebook on Tuesday afternoon, the Opposition leader said that it was “totally unacceptable” that displaced persons be used as “human pawns”.

Noting that there was an absence of political action “to do the right thing”, Delia said the government should put a stop to the current inhumane situation of people waiting desperately for shelter.

Stressing that the government should allow the migrants to disembark in Malta, he said that this should immediately be followed by action from other EU countries to step in and distribute the persons concerned.

“Whilst we are enjoying the summer vacations - as is our right - men, women and especially children are stranded on rescue boats in the scorching heat of the Mediterranean,” Delia said.

Adrian Delia put forward his message to the government in a long Facebook post on Tuesday
Adrian Delia put forward his message to the government in a long Facebook post on Tuesday

Acknowledging that Malta was a small country and could not physically assume the responsibility of larger states, he nonetheless said it was “unacceptable” that such a situation of people stranded at sea be allowed to continue.

“First things first - human beings come first,” he said, reiterating that the government should provide the migrants with shelter, and that the Opposition was willing to help politically in making Malta’s case, “forcefully”, with its European counterparts to start the distribution process.

Delia’s comments come following a call by the UNHCR earlier today for member states' governments to immediately allow the disembarkation of 507 migrants rescued in the central Mediterranean who remain stranded at sea,

A total of 151 people remain stranded on the Open Arms, which is operated by the NGO Proactiva Open Arms, including a group of 39 migrants rescued by the vessel within Malta’s search and rescue area.

Moreover, the vessel Ocean Viking, which is operated by SOS Mediterranee and Doctors Without Borders (MSF), is reported to have 356 people on board who rescued in four operations over a four-day period.

The Armed Forces of Malta today found a deceased migrant, believed to have escaped from Libya, on a rubber dinghy. He is believed to have died just before being reached by an army rescue team.

The man was on the boat with another man, who was also in critical condition.

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