Malta has denied entry to over 260 migrants rescued at sea, some in the country’s search and rescue zone, the Open Arms NGO has claimed.
According to migrant helpline Alarm Phone, 97 of the migrants had reached Malta’s Search and Rescue zone but any attempts to contact Maltese authorities were futile. They were eventually picked up by Open Arms.
We are so glad that the boat with 97 people that reached out to #AlarmPhone at night is being rescued by @openarms_fund! @Armed_Forces_MT continued to refuse responding to the distress calls. Now #OpenArms need a port of safety in #Europe.
— Alarm Phone (@alarm_phone) January 2, 2021
Taking to Twitter, Open Arms CEO Oscar Camps claimed that the ship, containing 265 rescued migrants, would disembark at Porto Empedocle in Sicily after it was denied entry into Malta.
“Italy has just confirmed a safe port for us, Porto Empedocle, Sicily, after Malta refused us to disembark,” he said.
Camps also posted a video of the dire conditions on board made worse by the spell of bad weather that hit the Mediterranean over the weekend.
“When it rains, conditions on deck deteriorate rapidly. This same situation in a boat would be certain death,” he said.
Diluvia y las condiciones en cubierta se deterioran rápidamente por el mal tiempo. Esta misma situación en una patera seria una muerte segura. Después de las negativas de Malta para permitirnos desembarcar, Italia nos acaba de confirmar un puerto seguro: Porto Empedocle, Sicilia. pic.twitter.com/i4m6SGNWh0
— Oscar Camps (@campsoscar) January 3, 2021
Lovin Malta reached out to an Armed Forces of Malta spokesperson who said they had no information on the incident.