Around 60 migrants were taken to Malta on Monday evening after being rescued from rough seas as they attempted to cross to Europe from Libya.
Two groups of people were saved by merchant vessels in Malta’s search and rescue zone. The rescue was carried out on the instructions of the Maltese authorities, after the migrants reported being in distress.
The two groups were brought to Marsaxlokk, south of the island, by the Armed Forces of Malta.
They were given foil blankets to prevent hypothermia, after spending several days at sea. The wind had picked up over the weekend, making their voyage especially difficult.
The migrants, many of whom barefoot, were taken to Detention Services vans on arrival. Their nationalities are not yet known.
On Sunday, the NGO Alarm Phone accused the Maltese authorities of refusing to rescue the groups despite bad weather.
The following day, the NGO announced that the group had been rescued on orders from the Maltese authorities.
However, the latter did not issue an official statement on the rescue.
This was the first arrival of migrants in several months. Over 26,000 people have died or gone missing while crossing the Mediterranean since 2014, the United Nations human rights office said on April 13. ■