Updated | Malta to allow disembarkation of remaining migrants on Alan Kurdi

The five migrants are what is left of a group of 13 rescued by the Alan Kurdi last month 

A migrant aboard the Alan Kurdi comforted by a volunteer as other rescued people were evacuated for medical reasons by the Armed Forces of Malta (Photo: Sea-Eye/Twitter)
A migrant aboard the Alan Kurdi comforted by a volunteer as other rescued people were evacuated for medical reasons by the Armed Forces of Malta (Photo: Sea-Eye/Twitter)

Two EU member states have agreed to take the remaining five migrants still onboard the NGO rescue vessel Alan Kurdi, following discussion with the European Commission.

In a statement, the government said that Malta had “agreed to be a part of a European solution to solve the impasse by offering disembarkation”.

The vessel has been given permission to disembark in Malta after the NGO Sea-Eye, which operates the vessel, agreed to drop a judicial protest filed against Malta.

It said that all five migrants will be immediately relocated to other member states.

“While all other persons disembarked from previous European-managed operations continue to be transferred to other EU member states in fulfilment of their pledges, Malta remains committed to take pragmatic decisions for European solutions which ensure a fair balance between responsibility and solidarity,” the government said.

Asked which countries were to be taking the migrants, a government spokesperson said the government could not add more to the statement, as agreed with the European Commission. However, they said that once the transfers happen, the countries would be made public.

The five migrants onboard formed part of a group of 13 people rescued on 31 August in Malta’s search and rescue area. MaltaToday understands that the closest ports of call at the time of the rescue were in Tunisia and the Italian island of Lampedusa.

Until an agreement with the Commission was reached, Malta had refused the ship entry but carried out several medical evacuations over the past few days as the health and mental wellbeing of passengers deteriorated.

Some migrants on board the ship even attempted suicide by jumping into the sea.

The Alan Kurdi, a vessel run by Sea-Eye, is currently south of Malta just outside the 12-mile territorial zone after being refused entry by the authorities.

The ship has also been refused entry into Italy, a decision upheld yesterday evening by the new coalition government between Cinque Stella and Partito Democratico.

Last week, Sea-Eye went to court in Malta to try and force the government to allow the disembarkation of the rescued migrants.

Meanwhile, last night, the rescue vessel Ocean Viking run by Doctors Without Borders and SOS Mediterranee, took on board 84 migrants that were picked up at sea by the small sailing boat Josefa, run by German NGO Resqship.

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