Two boats carrying asylum seekers rescued at sea are to be brought to Malta on Saturday, an Armed Forces of Malta spokesperson confirmed. 

The spokesperson could not provide any further details about the rescue operation at the time of writing. 

Undeterred by the threat of harsh winter weather, migrants have continued to brave the seas and attempt to cross the Mediterranean in recent months. 

On Saturday, at least 12 people drowned when a boat carrying migrants sank off the coast of a Greek island. 

NGO Alarm Phone, which operates an emergency hotline for people stuck at sea, said on Thursday that many boats were stuck in distress in the central Mediterranean, having set off from Libya. 

In many cases NGO rescue vessels have intervened to rescue those in danger. On Friday, the Sea Watch 3 rescued 42 people which Alarm Phone said were stuck in Malta's Search and Rescue Zone. 

A separate rescue vessel, the Open Arms, is carrying 118 people it rescued during two separate missions on Friday. 

Governments of Mediterranean countries are reluctant to assume responsibility for boats carrying migrants, citing concerns about encouraging others to make the trip and divergent interpretations of who is responsible for rescues under international maritime law. 

 

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