Around 284 migrants who were left stranded on a makeshift floating detention centre outside Maltese waters will be relocated to several EU nations, the government has revealed.
Malta had initially refused to let the migrants in amid the COVID-19 pandemic after the nation shut its ports to all non-essential travel. Migrants continued to come, with the government deciding to rent out harbour cruise ships from Captain Morgan and Supreme Crusis to house the people.
There were 425 migrants on board four harbour cruise ships by the time Malta decided to let them in amid growing unrest. Some of the people had been on the boats for roughly 40 days.
Maltese authorities have been working hard since to relocate the migrants to other member states. The government statement did not divulge where the migrants were going.
The entire project cost €1.7 million, with the government giving a comprehensive breakdown of the costs. Over €1 million was spent on security.
Migration emerged as a significant issue during the COVID-19 pandemic. Beyond the harbour cruise flotilla, Malta’s Armed Forces could potentially face charges in Italy for refusing to rescue 101 asylum seekers in Maltese waters and reportedly turning them away at gunpoint with enough fuel and the coordinates to reach Italy.
Abela has recently struck an agreement between Malta and Libya to tackle the migration crisis in the Mediterranean. The deal will see the creation of two new co-ordination centres in both countries.
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