Forty migrants, who were rescued off the coast of Libya, were transferred to Maltese military vessels and brought into port on, August 4th, said the German rescue group, Sea-Eye.
The agreement ended another standoff between rescue groups and Southern European member states of the European Union over the fate of migrants rescued in the Mediterranean Sea.
Sea-Eye posted photos on Twitter showing the migrants leaving the vessel, called Alan Kurdi, and being handed over to the Maltese military. An earlier video showed the migrants cheering at the news that they would be taken to Malta before being transferred to other EU countries. “Now they celebrate life,” an accompanying text said.
Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat announced on Saturday evening August 3rd on Twitter that the small EU nation would allow the 40 migrants aboard the Alan Kurdi to disembark after a request from Germany. He said the EU commission and the German government had organised for them to be distributed amongst several other EU nations. “No migrants will remain in Malta-JM”, he ended his tweet.
The Alan Kurdi headed toward Malta after Italy once again refused to open its ports to a humanitarian rescue ship in the Mediterranean Sea.
German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said Malta "is sending an important signal of solidarity," ahead of a meeting planned next month in Valletta in which the interior ministers from Germany, France, Italy and Malta hope to come up with a way to deal with EU migrant arrivals by sea and avoid repeated standoffs.