Malta

Malta allows stranded Somali migrants off boat

People wearing foil
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More than 110,000 migrants tried to cross the Mediterranean last year

A group of migrants who were stranded in dirty conditions aboard a ship that usually only carries animals have been allowed to disembark in Malta.

The vessel had rescued around 50 people, mostly Somalis, off the coast of Libya.

Initially, Malta refused to let them come ashore, arguing that its migrant reception centres were full.

But on Tuesday it said it had reached an agreement under which about 200 people would be sent to other European Union (EU) states.

On Monday, Italy gave permission for a separate group of 180 migrants rescued from the Mediterranean to disembark from a charity-run ship.

They were from a range of countries including Pakistan, Eritrea and Nigeria. They had fled the coast of Libya when they were rescued in four separate groups between 25 and 30 June.

More than 110,000 migrants tried to cross the Mediterranean last year, of which 1,200 died during the attempt, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Rescued migrants' boat 'unable to dock in Europe'

BBC World Service

Map of Mediterranean
BBC

Aid workers say that a ship carrying 180 rescued migrants is being refused permission to dock in either Italy or Malta.

Charity SOS Mediterranee, which operates the vessel, the Ocean Viking, says its requests for entry have been turned down repeatedly.

Those on board have been saved from various boats after setting off from Libya.

Italy and Malta feel they’re forced to take in too many migrants, and they say other EU states need to share more of the burden.