Rome/Valletta – A group of 40 migrants stranded at sea for more than four days after being rescued by a German NGO boat will be allowed into Malta on Sunday and are to be redistributed around Europe.
Malta would allow migrants on board the Alan Kurdi to transfer to a Maltese army vessel following a request from Germany and would then redistribute them around other EU member states, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat tweeted late Saturday.
No further details on the destination countries were immediately available but none would remain in Malta, according to Muscat.
Sea-Eye, the non-governmental organization that operates the Alan Kurdi, said in a tweet that “many” would go to Germany.
The boat, which rescued the migrants from a sinking vessel off Libya on Wednesday, spent Saturday just outside Maltese waters, having been turned away by Italian authorities the previous day.
A video published by Sea-Eye on its Twitter account showed the migrants cheering and celebrating following Muscat’s announcement.
“They nearly all died,” the NGO wrote. “Now they’re celebrating life. May they find open arms and hearts in their new homes.”
Meanwhile, another rescue vessel, Open Arms, operated by the Spanish NGO Proactiva, was still seeking a safe harbour after Italian authorities denied it entry.
The boat is carrying 124 migrants who were rescued from waters off the Libyan coast this week.
Asylum Seekers in the EU