Malta confirms migrant vessel entered its SAR

AFM - Arkivji

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Malta confirmed that one of the migrant vessels in the Mediterranean had entered its search and rescue area at one point.

In a statement, the Maltese Government said that the Malta Rescue and Coordination Centre has coordinated the rescue of an immigrant boat that left Libya and, after a few days in Libyan waters, entered Malta’s Search and Rescue Area.

“The boat in question had already been in distress for a number of days while in Libya’s Search and Rescue Area, not in Malta’s SAR. The European Union was aware of the boat as it was located in Libya’s Search and Rescue Area. The EU flew its aircrafts over the area but did not send any vessels to pick up the migrants.

“The Malta Rescue and Coordination Centre immediately followed the established coordination procedures once the boat was in Malta’s SAR/SRR and communicated the necessary information through what is known as NAVTEX.  The Armed Forces of Malta also made a number of flights to pinpoint where this boat was located, as soon as it was reported to be in Malta’s SAR. During one of these flights, the boat’s exact location was established and the AFM called nearby vessels to assist,” the Government said.

The Maltese Government said that the the migrants were assisted by a commercial vessel, which was dispatched to the location of the boat for assistance. “Later, a Libyan fishing vessel took the migrants on board,” Malta said. It added that during this time, the AFM was also coordinating four other similar cases on its own.

Nello Scavo, a journalist for the authoritative national Catholic Italian newspaper ‘L’Avvenire’  accused Malta of lying about the assistance given by Malta to the migrants over the past few days. Scavo said that “It seems that Malta even lied to the Italian Authorities. Libya refuses to let the migrants back ashore”.

Europe needs a structured mechanism to deal with migrant arrivals rather than relying on discussions on a case by cases basis, said PN leader Adrian Delia.

Leaving boats in distress has become the norm – academics

Refugees and migrants continue to cross the Mediterranean Sea in their desperate effort to reach security and refuge, according to a group of 472 academics. In a statement they said that the practice of leaving boats in distress and relinquishing all responsibility has become the norm.

“Whilst we appreciate the particular challenges individual Member States are facing during these challenging times, the situation neither justifies nor excuses the violation of human rights. The decision to close ports is unlawful. The absence of solidarity between the Member States in meeting their collective moral and legal obligations is reprehensible,” said the academics.