Migrants relocated to Portugal and France

Immigrants rescued in July and August by NGO ships and the army are relocated as part of ad hoc agreements

Two groups of migrants that disembarked in Malta over the summer months have been relocated to Portugal and France
Two groups of migrants that disembarked in Malta over the summer months have been relocated to Portugal and France

Migrants rescued in three separate operations during the summer have been relocated from Malta to Portugal and France, the government said.

The relocations were made possible after ad hoc agreements were brokered on each occasion between Malta, the European Commission and other member states.

The migrants were flown to their new homes on Thursday and no information was given as to the number of people that were relocated, and other details such as nationalities.

The government said that the group of migrants relocated to Portugal were rescued in two different operations. Some had been rescued by NGO ship Alan Kurdi and brought to Malta by the Armed Forces of Malta, while the second group were rescued in a separate operation by the AFM.

Both rescues happened on 7 July. The Alan Kurdi had rescued 65 migrants but it is unknown how many of these were being transferred to Portugal.

Another group of migrants flown to France had been rescued by the Ocean Viking on 23 August and allowed to disembark in Malta after being transferred to an army patrol boat.

The Ocean Viking had on board 356 rescued migrants, who were stranded at sea for 14 days as Malta and Italy refused the ship entry into their ports.

Again, it is unclear how many migrants France was willing to accept.

The government said the immigrants were assisted by the Maltese authorities, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), and officials from the respective embassies of Portugal and France in Malta.

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