An Armed Forces of Malta patrol boat has been sent to meet an NGO-run rescue ship after it picked up 36 people from a wooden vessel in distress in Maltese waters.

An AFM spokeswoman said Malta was willing to take in those on board the Ocean Viking ship who were retrieved in the country’s search and rescue area.

However, there are 218 people in total on the boat, saved in different operations so it is not clear how the rescue will proceed. 

In what appears to be a separate case, the NGO Alarm Phone tweeted that 80 people on a rubber boat in Maltese waters contacted them to say they are in distress and need to be rescued.

It said: “We hope that a rescue vessel is on its way.” However, the AFM spokeswoman said there was no information about this case.

Three rescue operations have already taken place this week, with some 196 people being brought to Malta. 

On Thursday, 56 migrants were taken in; on Wednesday there were 45 people, including a pregnant woman; and on Tuesday there were 95 arrivals who were initially rescued by the Italian Coastguard.

The latest arrivals of people trying to cross the Mediterranean for the EU come ahead of a meeting of Europe's interior ministers on Monday about the migration crisis.

Home affairs minister Michael Farrugia will host the meeting, which will include Italy, Germany, France and Finland, which holds the EU presidency.


Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us