108 migrants, including 31 women on board. Maltese Premier: “Do not shirk our duties.”
Trapped by rescued migrants, the merchant ship arrived in Valletta harbor on Thursday morning in Malta. The captain had confirmed that he was not in control of the ship. On board were 108 migrants, including 31 women.
Malta sent a few units of a vessel and helicopters to escort the merchant ship flagged by the island state of Palau to La Valletta. Here the police began investigations.
“Despite the dimensions of our island, we do not abandon our duties, we will respect all international regulations,” tweeted Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.
“They are not shipwrecked, they are pirates,” Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said on Wednesday. The merchant ship had taken in the Mediterranean a group of migrants off the Libyan coast, but then about six nautical miles off Libya’s capital Tripoli suddenly changed course to the north.
The Italian NGO “Mediterranea Saving Humans” replied that people were fleeing “Libyan concentration camps” aboard the ship. It was Italy’s duty to accept the migrants. “These migrants should not be treated as pirates or criminals, but as asylum seekers fleeing Libya’s concentration camp,” said the NGO.