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The Latest: Boat which rescued migrants hopes for safe port

The Latest: Boat which rescued migrants hopes for safe port

LONDON (AP) — The Latest on Europe's migrant crisis (all times local):

3:55 p.m.

A private rescue boat with 33 migrants aboard for days in the Mediterranean is appealing for a safe port.

The crew aboard Sea-Watch 3, operated by a German humanitarian group, has tweeted that the migrants were rescued from waters off Libya on Dec. 22.

Malta and Italy have said they won't grant port entry to private rescue boats. The crew on Wednesday was appealing to Germany. The rescued migrants, including children, are from Nigeria, Libya and Ivory Coast.

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini says his country has allowed around 700,000 migrants rescued at sea to land in Italy in recent years, and other European countries must do their share.

Migrants, hoping for better lives in Europe, make treacherous journeys in unseaworthy smugglers' boats launched from largely lawless Libya.


11:20 a.m.

Albania's Defense Ministry has extended for a year its navy's participation in the search-and-rescue operations of European Union border control force Frontex.

Defense Minister Olta Xhacka on Wednesday said the mission, mainly in the Aegean Sea, will continue in 2019. Albania's navy contributes one warship to the operations.

Xhacka said Albanian sailors have "saved thousands of human lives" during the last two years when refugees have tried to cross from Turkey to Greece.


10:35 a.m.

British officials say three more migrants have been intercepted trying to take a small boat from France to Britain.

The Home Office said Wednesday three migrants were found overnight trying to cross the English Channel. In addition, a Border Force vessel was sent to help a dinghy heading toward Britain with seven men and a woman aboard.

Officials say another 40 migrants were stopped trying to cross the Channel on Christmas Day.

There has been a recent spike in small boat crossings that British authorities say is organized by smuggling gangs. The Home Office says it's working with French officials to try to shut down the people smuggling.

British officials say all the migrants picked up in recent days have received medical aid.