Rescued asylum seekers brought to Malta

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

A total of two groups of asylum seekers will be brought to Malta on Saturday. A spokesperson for the Armed Forces of Malta told Newsbook.com.mt that the first group of asylum seekers was brought earlier on at around 12.45pm.

There was not estimated time of arrival for the second group which will be brought in on Saturday.

The 99 migrants were on board a humanitarian search and rescue vessel, Sea Watch. On Twitter the German NGO said that it was notified by migrant hotline Alarm Phone about a boat in distress. Sea Watch explained that it changed its course to rescue the group, basing the decision on past experience. The migrants were rescued on Friday at around 4am.

Sea Watch explained that it took them eight hours to arrive to the boat. The asylum seekers on board the boat told the crew that they had been at sea for days. The migrants said that they had seen two ships which ignored them “We realized there was an Armed Forces Malta ship standing by for 3 hours already,” the NGO wrote.

“Armed Forces Malta only save lives if they are forced to! Last night, we witnessed a dangerous delay of rescue operation by the AFM that could have killed people,” the NGO said on Twitter.

On the other hand migrant hotline Alarm Phone said that there were a number of boats in distress in the Central Mediterranean on Saturday. The NGO said that while they established a short contact with many of them, they did not have their GPS coordinates. Alarm Phone feared for their lives. Among the boats in distress there was a wooden boat carrying some 70 people.

At least twelve people drowned and 21 were rescued when their boat sank off an island in western Greece on Saturday, Greek authorities said.