Photo left: Sea-Watch
Opposition leader Adrian Delia this morning called for the granting of immediate shelter and humanitarian aid to 49 asylum seekers currently stranded in Maltese waters.
“We are for the protection of Malta’s national interest and bullying tactics are unacceptable,” Delia said. “But vulnerable people, children and infants stranded on board are not pawns, they need humanitarian aid and shelter now.”
The PN leader has repeatedly warned of the dangers of overpopulation since his election in 2017, but has insisted Malta has a moral duty to save human lives at sea that goes beyond international legal obligations.
We are for the protection of Malta’s national interest. Bullying tactics from bigger countries are unacceptable. But vulnerable persons, children & infants stranded on board are not pawns they need humanitarian aid, shelter now.
— Adrian Delia (@adriandeliapn) January 7, 2019
Two NGO-run vessels, the Sea-Watch and the Sea-Eye, who between them have 49 asylum seekers on board, including a baby and children, have been left stranded in the Mediterranean for 18 days. No EU country has agreed to take them in but Malta allowed them to enter its waters last week due to bad weather.
The Sea-Watch yesterday warned that some of the asylum seekers on board have now started refusing food, but said in a tweet today that everyone has now started eating again.
Good morning from
the ship. It’s day 18 for us being held hostage at sea by European governments. The situation is tense but at least everyone’s eating again. #United4med
— Sea-Watch International (@seawatch_intl) January 8, 2019
Italy’s deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio has accused Malta of refusing to dock the ships despite them being in Maltese waters, but the Maltese government has retorted that the migrants had been rescued in an area that was outside Malta’s search and rescue region and that the ships only sought refuge in Maltese territorial waters after Italy denied them passage.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has insisted that Malta will not let take the migrants in, warning that such an act could set a precedent and risk turning the island into a centre for asylum seekers rescued by NGO-run vessels.
Yet a social media campaign launched yesterday, backed by citizens, politicians, NGOs and celebrities, to pressure the Maltese authorities into taking the asylum seekers in.
— Michael Briguglio (@BriguglioMike) January 7, 2019
It’s not. It’s the toughest thing to do.
This is not about becoming a disembarkation centre – no-one advocates that.
It is only about Muscat using 49 of the most vulnerable people to big himself up politically in a typical populist pseudo-strong man show. And no-one buys it. https://t.co/dWHrfPfkTG
— Roberta Metsola MEP (@RobertaMetsola) January 6, 2019