The Government have said that they will grant assistance to Sea-Watch 3 and Professor Albrecht Plenck “in case of emergency”, also reiterating the Prime Minister’s Sunday intervention pointing out that Malta is being made to be the only proponent of “European solidarity in practice.”
There are currently 49 migrants who have been stranded at sea aboard two NGO rescue vessels for 18 days, including children, infants, and unaccompanied minors.
In a statement, the Government said that Malta did not have legal competence in the rescuing of migrants by the two vessels, saying that the ships “proceeded to loiter in Maltese territorial waters” after they were turned away by other European and non-European ports.
It also said that Malta, despite being the smallest Member State, is once again being called upon to disembark migrants, as has previously also been the case in the previous months. The statement says that Malta believes relocation “should not be limited to persons on board the 2 NGO vessels”, but that it should also be extended to others previously rescued “as a sign of goodwill”.
The statement came in the wake of representatives from Malta’s NGO sector appearing en masse outside the Prime Minister’s Office to hand deliver a message, calling on Malta and Europe to take responsibility over the on-going situation off the coast of Malta.