Malta has turned down a request by the rescue vessel Alan Kurdi to evacuate 10 people, including six children and one pregnant woman, described as being in critical condition. 

The 10 are among a group of 32 migrants rescued by the Alan Kurdi from a boat in distress on Friday. 

The NGO Sea Eye, which operates the vessel, said it was still waiting for a safe port for those rescued, and that Malta had refused an evacuation. 

"The maritime coordination center [of] Malta is of the opinion that a dehydrated pregnant woman and children who are not taking any food are no emergencies," the NGO said. "The children are not eating anymore due to seasickness and stress."

Sea Eye said the vessel would be seeking shelter near Sicily from an approaching storm expected to hit the ship on Sunday. 

An Armed Forces of Malta spokeswoman declined to provide any further information on the situation. 

Archbishop Charles J Scicluna, writing on Twitter on Saturday, called on "those responsible and those who have means" to ensure a "swift solution in the name of our shared humanity".

Last summer, the Alan Kurdi was on several occasions stranded at sea after Malta denied it permission to enter harbour with rescued migrants aboard.

In August the government allowed 40 migrants from the ship to be brought to Malta before they were relocated to Germany, following a request from the German government. 

The AFM has also been involved in numerous evacuations of migrants from the vessel due to medical emergencies. 

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