Updated (1): Watch: PN, NGOs relieved that standoff has ended

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Updated with NGOs, PN statement

After a two-week standoff, the 356 people rescued at sea by the Norwegian-flagged charity ship, Ocean Viking, were brought in the army naval base in Floriana after they were transferred to an Armed Forces of Malta patrol boat.

Read: 356 asylum seekers on board Ocean Viking to be brought to Malta

The disembarkation began at around 10pm on Friday night.

The standoff ended following discussions led by the European Commission among willing member states. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat stressed that none of the asylum seekers will remain in Malta, and will be relocated to other member states.

The two humanitarian organisations, SOS Mediterranee and Doctors Without Borders (MSF), which operate the Ocean Viking rescued 356 asylum seekers from four rubber boats during four rescue operations between 9-12 August.

The migrants are claiming to be from Senegal, Ivory Coast, Mali, Gambia, Chad, Nigeria, Guinea Conakry, Sudan, South Sudan, Libya, Ethiopia and Eritrea. Among those rescued is a large number of unaccompanied minors.

The asylum seekers will be relocated to France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal and Romania.

“Human lives are priceless” – Partit Nazzjonalista

Partit Nazzjonalista has expressed relief that 356 people stranded on board the Norwegian-flagged charity vessel Ocean Viking have been brought to Malta.

In a statement on Saturday the PN said that “human lives are priceless and people are not pawns in the hands of wrong political agendas”.

The PN further stated that irregular migrations needs long durable solutions rather than piecemeal solutions.

Partit Nazzjonalista urged for a collective European solution, saying that the Maltese government should work towards predictable legal mechanisms of solidarity at a European level.

NGOs commend Maltese Government; Call on member states to do more

A group of academic institutions and non-governmental organisations have called on European member states to do more. In a statement on Saturday the non-governmental organisations commended Malta’s decision to transfer the 356 individuals rescued by the Norwegian-flagged charity ship Ocean Viking to Malta before they are relocated among six EU Member States.

The NGOs called on other European member states to do more, reminding them of their legal, political and moral responsibilities, saying that external border member states cannot be expected to continue carrying the consequences of political inadequacy and deadlock at the European level.

The NGOs in their statement reminded that the rescued men, women and children were forced to endure the scorching heat, and uncertainty, until a deal was finally reached.

The NGOs that signed the statement are aditus foundation, African Media Association, Catholic Voices Malta, Department of Gender Studies, University of Malta, Department of Youth & Community Studies, University of Malta, Drachma LGBTI, Drachma Parents Group, Integra Foundation, Jesuit Refugee Service (Malta), Kopin, Malta Emigrants Commission, Moviment Graffitti, Office of the Dean Faculty of Education, University of Malta, Office of the Dean, Faculty for Social Wellbeing, University of Malta, Richmond Foundation, SOS Malta, Spark 15, St. Jeanne Antide Foundation (SJAF), The Critical Institute and Women’s Rights Foundation.

Read more:

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Updated: 170 asylum seekers rescued by Ocean Viking on first mission

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