Prime Minister Joseph Muscat this evening again called for EU and regional action to tackle migration, as a migrant boat believed to be carrying around 400 people sank off the Libyan coast.

Dr Muscat made his comments when speaking at a Labour political activity in Msida after a minute's silence was observed out of respect for the victims.

He asked how many more people had to die before coordinated action was taken, including the sharing of the migration burden between all the member states of the EU.

He also pointed out that the Social Democratic candidate for the presidency  of the European Commission, Martin Schulz, was speaking of a plan of action on migration, on the lines that Malta was proposing.

The boat went down some 40 miles off the Libyan coast, 105 miles south of Lampedusa and 164 south of Malta. The area is 36 nautical miles outside Malta’s search and rescue area.

Italian naval and coast guard vessels recovered 14 bodies and rescued around 200 people.

An Italian navy statement said two naval and two coast guard patrol boats and a vessel from the Guardia di Finanza customs police had joined the rescue operation and medical assistance was being provided to survivors. 

Maltese units are not involved in the search and rescue operation. An offer to help was made by the AFM but the Italian authorities said there was no need.

 

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