The government has commissioned a third Captain Morgan ferry after the Armed Forces of Malta rescued a group of 140 migrants on Friday. 

Some 19 of them, understood to be minors, their parents and three pregnant women, arrived in Malta on Friday evening.

There are almost 300 migrants in total on three boats outside Malta’s territorial waters. 

Sources have confirmed that Captain Morgan’s Baħari sailed out and moored 13 nautical miles east of Valletta. Around 121 migrants were transferred to the boat following the rescue. 

The Baħari was last week substituted by the larger and more spacious Atlantis, which is holding around 105 people. 

The government had chartered the Baħari to host migrants rescued by the Armed Forces of Malta a fortnight ago. The migrants on board initially numbered 120 but 10 of them were given special permission to come to Malta as they included a pregnant woman and children. 

They had been rescued after their dinghy drifted into Malta's search-and-rescue area. However, they were denied permission to disembark.

Another Captain Morgan vessel, the Europa II, has been at sea just outside Malta's territorial waters for almost two weeks with 57 migrants on board.

Malta closed its ports in April and told the EU it cannot guarantee the availability of assets to conduct rescues because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prime Minister Robert Abela said that Malta was abiding by international obligations to coordinate rescues. He told Parliament that the vessels were each costing around €3,000 daily.

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