A rescue ship that picked up 146 migrants in Malta’s search and rescue zone over the weekend has had a request to disembark them in Malta refused, according to NGO Open Arms.

“The ship will be disembarking at Port Empedocle, Sicily, on Monday evening, after Malta once again denied port of safety requests several times,” an NGO spokesperson told Times of Malta.

The Maltese government did not comment. 

On Saturday, the ship, which is operated by Open Arms, rescued 40 people, including a three-month-old baby, and later made a second rescue, where 106 people were found in Malta's search and rescue zone.

The spokesperson confirmed that all the passengers are well.

“Today we woke up with 146 people sheltered on deck and finally safe,” Open Arms said. 

The Armed Forces of Malta said they had no information when contacted, and referred questions to the Home Affairs Ministry, where no one answered questions.   

In January, the same ship rescued 96 migrants in Malta's SAR zone after the Maltese authorities allegedly ignored a request for assistance.

In November 2020, NGO Alarm Phone claimed Malta was guilty of “systematic acts of non-assistance” and was implicated in the ongoing loss of life in the Mediterranean Sea.

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