EU urges Malta to allow Ethiopian, Eritrean migrants rescued at sea

By Topy Vogel, European News  August 6, 2013 The European Commission has warned Malta not to continue blocking a Greek-operated oil tanker after it rescued 102 migrants in distress off the Libyan coast. “It is the humanitarian

By Topy Vogel, European News  August 6, 2013

The European Commission has warned Malta not to continue blocking a Greek-operated oil tanker after it rescued 102 migrants in distress off the Libyan coast.

“It is the humanitarian duty of the Maltese authorities to allow these persons to disembark,” Cecilia Malmström, the European commissioner for home affairs, said in a statement today (6 August).

Malta and Italy are quarrelling over who might be in charge of the rescued migrants, which according to the Commission include four pregnant women, an injured woman and a five-month-old baby.

The Maltese authorities said yesterday (5 August) that they had refused entry to a Liberian-registered tanker operated by a Greek firm that had rescued 102 migrants after their rubber dinghy got into trouble in Libyan waters.

The Italian search and rescue centre had instructed the tanker to pick up the migrants and to return to Libya, according to the Italian authorities. But the ship’s captain continued the journey to Malta, where his vessel was blocked just outside territorial waters by the Maltese navy.

The ship’s operator denies that there was an order to return to Libya and says that several of the rescued migrants, thought to be from Ethiopia and Eritrea, need urgent medical attention amid worsening conditions on the tanker.

“Any dispute about the responsible search and rescue authority, including the involvement of the Italian and Libyan authorities, as well as the right place of disembarkation does not help the persons in immediate need,” Malmström said in her statement. “These issues should be clarified at a later stage.”

She said: “At this point in time, it is the humanitarian duty of the Maltese authorities to allow these persons to disembark. Sending the ship back to Libya would be contrary to international law. The master of the ship has dispatched an urgent medical request as the injured woman needs immediate hospitalisation. The Commission therefore urges Malta to let these persons disembark as soon as possible.”

Malta says it faces an emergency after some 1,000 migrants arrived last month.

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6 COMMENTS
  • Kabbire August 6, 2013

    Dear Malta,

    The Eritrean and the Ethiopian refugees have to cross thousands of kilometers across the Sahara desert to escape from horror and repression. Along the way, they had suffered robbery, jails and torture in the hands of bandits in Libya, Sudan and Egypt.
    The people of Malta have a humanitarian duty to provide these refugees a temporary shelter until these refugees get to join their extended families in Europe, North America and Australia.
    The people of Malta need to remember the good deeds of one your Eritrean refugees who gave his life to save two people from dawning in your land: the late Ashih tekleab haile.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kETVbK5T6i0

  • Bellize August 7, 2013

    Italy already accepted the immigrants-bbc.com

  • Abdu August 7, 2013

    Thanks God They are in Italy and getting medical attention

  • Abdu August 7, 2013

    What it seems more even helpful to their spirit and a boast their moral; if it would”ve open an account fand

  • Semhar August 8, 2013

    THIS IS OUR TIME!

    It’s better late than never!

    The time has come for change in Eritrea!

    Let’s march for freedom in Eritrea and all over the world!

    Please do not forget to bring our Liberation Flag for the freedom march!

    Thanks and may God bless ጅግና፡ ኤርትራዊ ስዉእ ስዒድ ዓሊ ሕጃይ (ወዲ ዓሊ and his courageous comrades who marched with their tanks from Sorona, Akeleguzay to FORTO, Asmera to liberate our land and our people.

    The mad dog, the evil spirit ሕስረት ዝለመደ ዕባይ እንዳ ስዋ Isayas and his blind followers the PFDJ and their burned flag will be smashed!

    Eritrea will be free and our liberation flag will rise up again!

    Let freedom ring in Akeleguzy!
    Let freedom ring in Barka!
    Let freedom ring in sahil!
    Let freedom ring in Senhit!
    Let freedom ring in semhar!
    Let freedom ring in Seraye!
    Let freedom ring in Denkel!
    Let freedom ring in Hamassien!

    2013 freedom will ring allover ERITREA!
    ERITREA will be the Land of the FREE and the home of the BRAVE!

  • Semhar August 8, 2013

    Thanks to the Italian people in general and to the Italian government in particular!

    THIS IS OUR TIME!
    It’s better late than never!
    The time has come for change in Eritrea!
    Let’s march for freedom in Eritrea and all over the world!
    Please do not forget to bring our Liberation Flag for the freedom march!
    Thanks and may God bless ጅግና፡ ኤርትራዊ ስዉእ ስዒድ ዓሊ ሕጃይ (ወዲ ዓሊ and his courageous comrades who marched with their tanks from Sorona, Akeleguzay to FORTO, Asmera to liberate our land and our people.
    The mad dog, the evil spirit ሕስረት ዝለመደ ዕባይ እንዳ ስዋ Isayas and his blind followers the PFDJ and their burned flag will be smashed!
    Eritrea will be free and our liberation flag will rise up again!
    Let freedom ring in Akeleguzy!
    Let freedom ring in Barka!
    Let freedom ring in sahil!
    Let freedom ring in Senhit!
    Let freedom ring in semhar!
    Let freedom ring in Seraye!
    Let freedom ring in Denkel!
    Let freedom ring in Hamassien!
    2013 freedom will ring allover ERITREA!
    ERITREA will be the Land of the FREE and the home of the BRAVE!

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