Aquarius migrant rescue vessel granted permission to enter Malta
15 Aug 2018, 00:03 ( 2 Months ago)
A group of 141 rescued migrants currently waiting aboard the rescue ship MV Aquarius will be disembarked in Malta and redistributed across other European states, the Maltese government said on Tuesday.
In a statement, the government said that the vessel, whose passenger load includes 73 children, will be allowed to dock in Malta following discussion between Malta, France and a number of European states.
The decision ends a four-day standoff which saw Italy, Tunisia and Spain each refuse the ship entry, after the migrants were rescued from two wooden fishing vessels as they were attempting to cross the Mediterranean.
"Malta will be making a concession allowing the vessel to enter its ports, despite having no legal obligation to do so," the government said in the statement.
It added that the country would "serve as a logistical base" and that "all of the reportedly 141 migrants on board will be distributed amongst France, Germany, Luxembourg, Portugal and Spain".
The government said it considers this to be a concrete example of European leadership and solidarity.
In June, the vessel, carrying over 600 migrants, was at the centre of standoff between Malta and Italy, and remained stranded at sea for days. Its passengers were eventually taken in by Spain.