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The Latest: Malta to let rescue ship with 141 migrants dock

The Latest: Malta to let rescue ship with 141 migrants dock

PARIS (AP) — The Latest on a ship carrying rescued migrants in the Mediterranean (all times local):

4:05 p.m.

Malta says it will allow the private rescue ship Aquarius, with 141 migrants aboard, enter port as part of an EU deal.

The Maltese government said Tuesday that the migrants, who were rescued in the waters off Libya four days earlier, will be distributed among other European Union nations — France, Germany, Luxembourg, Portugal and Spain. Meanwhile, Malta will serve as a logistical base for Aquarius.

Malta in a statement calls the arrangement's a "concrete example of European leadership and solidarity."

The aid groups SOS Mediterranee and Doctors Without Borders, with staff aboard the ship, had appealed to Italy and Malta for safe harbor.

Italy's new populist government had refused.

Malta noted that it rescued 114 migrants at sea on Monday and that 60 of those will also be distributed among other EU nations. .

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12:15 p.m.

Two officials in France are urging national authorities to allow docking access to a boat carrying 141 migrants rescued last week in the Mediterranean Sea, stressing humanitarian concerns.

The ship, Aquarius, is operated by French groups. It is currently situated between Malta and the Italian island of Lampedusa, with Italy's new anti-migrant government refusing to let it dock.

Jean-Guy Talamoni, the president of Corsica's local assembly, told Europe-1 on Tuesday that, "it's an obligation to help people in danger."

The director of the port of Sete near Montpellier, Jean-Claude Gayssot, also said the evening before on BFM-TV that "there are emergency situations and you have to deal with them."

The boat needs the authorization of French authorities to enter any port. French President Emmanuel Macron has not yet commented.


Updated : 2021-03-05 18:42 GMT+08:00