Malta based MOAS rescued 561 migrants today in the biggest single operation by its ship the Phoenix.

The migrants were picked up off Libya. 136 were woman and 60 were infants. In view of limited space on the ship, some of the migrants are being transferred to other vessels.

The Phoenix had been due to return to Malta today but stayed on station because of the migrants emergency. MOAS started operations last year and its current mission started on May 2.

Today was a particularly busy day for rescuers, with 15 rescue missions taking place simultaneously.

Warships from several countries were involved notably Italy, Britain and Germany. They picked up more than 2,000 migrants.

Phoenix yesterday also transferred 188 migrants it had rescued to Britain's HMS Bulwark.

The rescued migrants are being taken to Italy.

An estimated 1,750 migrants are believed to have drowned in the Mediterranean this year.


Meanwhile, Hungary today reiterated its opposition to the new quota system for the transfer of in asylum-seekers as proposed by the European Union.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban's chief of staff Janos Lazar told a press conference: "Hungary will under no circumstances receive such refugees based on the EU's decision."

"The Hungarian government will do everything to prevent this in Brussels." 


Italian news agency Ansa also reported today that Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that the organisation would consider any EU request for assistance in regard to EU military operations against smugglers in Libya:

“Let's let the EU take its own decisions,’ Stoltenberg said amid mooted plans to destroy people-smuggler boats.

"If the EU makes requests of us we will consider them seriously, but so far it hasn't," Stoltenberg said.

According to Reuters, “U.S. Ambassador to NATO Douglas Lute “said information-sharing between NATO and the EU could be possible. Accurate intelligence pinpointing smugglers’ vessels would be key to the success of the operation.”

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