Some 160 Somali and Eritrean refugees have been brought to Malta early this morning, following two separate dramatic rescues at sea. Four of the migrants have reportedly died.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Two Armed Forces patrol boats sailed into Haywharf Maritime Base this morning, bringing 160 migrants to Malta, after being intercepted at sea on two different boats.
The first group of migrants was rescued by a merchant ship some 70 miles to the South West of Malta.
The ship - Victoria 6 - communicated to Malta's Rescue Coordination Centre, that 60 migrants, found to be drifting on a sinking dinghy were in a serious condition, and had two bodies on board.
The captain accepted to take the migrants on board, but two reportedly fell into the water as they were being taken aboard. A subsequent search for them yielded no results.
Meanwhile, a second dinghy with another group of migrants was intercepted by an AFM patrol boat.
The migrants were taken on board the patrol boat, while another set out to sea to evacuate the other group of migrants who were rescued by the Victoria 6.
Sources said that at least 20 of the migrants were referred to Mater Dei Hospital for medical care.
Today's migrant arrivals have bring the total of landings to 1,700 since the beginning of summer.
160 migrants were brought to Malta last night, with the AFM having intercepted a second migrants' boat after having earlier assisted a merchant ship which picked up more than 50 migrants from a dinghy.
The AFM said some of the migrants in the first group were in poor health. They were picked up by the merchant ship Victoria 6 some 70 nautical miles south of Malta.
Two persons fell into the sea while being transferred and were reported missing. An AFM air search for them yielded no results. Another two migrants were found dead in the dinghy.
The merchant ship transferred the migrants to a patrol craft for landing in Malta in the early hours of this morning.
A patrol boat with the second group of migrants also arrived in Malta after midnight.
Source: Malta Today