Alarm Phone has urged Maltese authorities to step in and rescue some 173 people in two dinghies they say are floating in Maltese territorial waters.
A spokesperson for the rescue NGO told Times of Malta that the first group of 83 people escaped from the Libyan city of Zawiya on Thursday and have called for assistance as their engine stopped working.
On Friday, Alarm Phone also said it had made contact with a group of 90 people who had also left from Libya and have been at sea for three days.
“They urgently need help, Armed Forces of Malta do your duty and help them immediately,” the NGO said in a tweet.
Alarm Phone said repeated attempts to contact the AFM were ignored.
A spokesperson for the AFM declined to comment on the situation.
Last week some 146 people were left drifting on the Libyan coast in deteriorating weather conditions, with Alarm Phone saying that “national authorities” had refused to coordinate a rescue. They did not specify which country the said authorities were from.
The migrants were eventually picked by the NGO rescue vessel Open Arms and disembarked in Sicily after Maltese authorities refused to allow the ship to enter port.
Last November, Alarm Phone accused Malta of being “implicated” in the ongoing loss of life in the Mediterranean by “routinely” rejecting responsibility for boats even in its own search and rescue zone.