Asylum seekers stranded on tanker to disembark in Sicily after stand-off

Twitter / Sea Watch

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

27 asylum seekers who were rescued by a Danish-flagged tanker Maersk Etienne will finally disembark in Pozzallo, Sicily following a stand-off which lasted 38 days.

Humanitarian non-governmental organizations announced that the people stranded on board the tanker since their rescue on 4 August, will be taken to Sicily after Malta refused to assign a port of safety and their disembarkation, insisting that the rescue had taken place outside its search and rescue area.

The people were transferred to the rescue vessel Mare Jonio operated by Mediterranea for medical treatment, on Friday.

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Writing on Twitter, migrant hotline Alarm Phone announced that the asylum seekers will disembark in Pozzallo for health related reasons. The disembarkation was authorised by the Italin coast guard.

Prime Minister Robert Abela had insisted that the asylum seekers were rescued in an area which falls under the responsibility of Tunisia and that the captain had changed the route and sailed towards Malta.

Abela maintained that since the tanker carried a Danish flag, the flag state should take responsibility and take in the asylum seekers on board.