Malta allows 50 rescued migrants to disembark
Livestock carrier Talia finally got permission on Tuesday night to transfer 50 rescued migrants to custody of Maltese immigration officials.
The Talia was on a ballast trip off Libya on Saturday, when she diverted in a drifting boat to rescue 52 migrants. The boat was spotted by a surveillance plane operated by rescue NGO Sea-Watch and helped vector the merchant ship in, and the crew completed the rescue.
The ship was not, however, in an ideal condition to accept passengers: she had just unloaded a livestock cargo in Libya, and her decks had not yet been fully washed, Capt. Mohammad Shaaban told media.
The Talia asked for permission from Italian and Maltese authorities to disembark the survivors.
"We have followed the law and yet we cannot disembark in Europe. We cannot believe that a merchant ship with limited capacity for assistance will do its duty while a state like Malta now fails to assign a safe port as required by law," the Talia's representatives told Sea-Watch.
Malta is pursuing a long-term, compulsory distribution arrangement with other EU countries to accept migrants coming from Libya. One of the nearest points in the EU to Libyan shores happens to be the tiny island nation of 500,000 people and it is one of the two major migration destinations along the Central Mediterranean route.
Maritime Business World