Migrants being held in soiled animal stables aboard a ship designed to carry livestock are falling ill and running out of food, the captain of the ship which rescued them has warned.
In a heartfelt appeal, MV Talia captain Mohammad Shaaban called for “humanitarian help” from the EU, Italian or Maltese authorities to come to the migrants' aid.
Video taken by the captain shows the migrants sitting inside the boat's stables, looking glum, weak and sickly.
"We have no more facilities to give food, care or water. Everyone is very tired. We need help to disembark these people. They are staying in stables, this place is made for animals," the captain said.
A Maltese medical team evacuated two people aboard the ship on Sunday due to their medical condition, and captain Shaaban on Monday contacted Maltese authorities to warn about the deteriorating condition of others aboard the ship.
On Monday evening, Malta's rescue coordination centre advised the captain to provide an individual suffering from headache with paracetamol, and asked the captain to list any pregnant women, children or elderly people among the rescued.
The MV Talia was sailing from Libya to Spain when it was asked to rescue a group of 50 migrants on Saturday.
“They were in a very bad condition. We saved all of them during an operation that lasted between four and five hours. We immediately fed them, provided them with water and hosted them on the upper deck,” he said, adding that the vessel then proceeded to Lampedusa.
Italian authorities refused disembarkation and Malta subsequently told the ship that it was not allowed into Maltese territorial waters.
As rough seas picked up, migrants were forced to move from the ship's deck down into soiled stables which had not yet been cleaned since the ship had delivered animals to Libya a few days earlier.
On Sunday, Shaaban told Times of Malta that even had they managed to clean the place, it would still not be good for humans.
The ship was given permission to enter Maltese waters for shelter as bad weather deteriorated.
“We really need help because Malta is not allowing disembarkation. Who will shoulder responsibility for these people? We need help as we have run out of food, water and care facilities.
“No one is heeding our calls for help. We are all very tired and we cannot remain like this. We need to disembark these people especially because they are sleeping in animal stables which had not even been cleaned before the rescue.”
Malta has so far made no official comment about the ship or its rescued passengers.
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