An emergency rescue hotline is claiming that 14 hours after alerting the Maltese authorities to 26 people in distress off Libya, the small vessel they are on is taking in water.

They have also run out of food and water after three days out at sea, Alarm Phone claimed. 

When contacted, an Armed Forces of Malta spokesperson declined to provide any information about the boat and instead asked for questions to be sent by email. 

Questions sent to the AFM about a separate group of people in distress on May 12 are still unanswered. The 24 "hypothermic" migrants have since been rescued by a voluntary organisation and taken to Pozzallo, Sicily.  

In all, 58 people who were rescued from Malta's search and rescue zone entered Pozzallo on Sunday, with NGO Sea-Eye saying this marked the end of a rescue mission during which Malta “failed to fulfil its duty to coordinate maritime emergencies several times”.

On Monday an Alarm Phone spokesperson told Times of Malta that the Maltese and Italian authorities were informed about a further boat in distress off Libya, late on Sunday.

By Sunday evening, the boat was already taking in water and those aboard were "in need of immediate rescue".

On Monday morning the boat was closer to Malta. The spokesperson said the boat was very small and was battling rough patches of water.

The 26 people have been out at sea for three days and have now run of food and water.

"We call on Armed Forces of Malta to not delay assistance any further, but do their duty and rescue the people," Alarm Phone urged on Twitter.

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