Malta’s prime minister announced on Twitter Saturday that four European Union countries have finally come forward to take in the 64 migrants who were rescued off the coast of Libya by a German vessel ten days ago.
Joseph Muscat wrote that all 64 migrants onboard vessel Alan Kurdi will be disembarked and redistributed between Germany, France, Portugal and Luxembourg thanks to effective coordination by the EU Commission and Malta. He added that “None will remain in Malta, which cannot shoulder this burden alone.”
Officials for the German humanitarian group Sea Eye said it responded to a call made to Alarm Phone, the telephone service migrants can call if they are in distress in the Mediterranean. Sea Eye said the migrants were rescued from an overcrowded dinghy.
Sea Eye, using a German vessel named the Alan Kurdi, said it was in the area searching for another dinghy with some 50 people on board, which issued a distress call and then disappeared.
The rescued included ten women, five children and a newborn baby. One young woman was evacuated earlier this week after complaining of dizziness and faintness.
Jan Ribbeck, operations manager of the Alan Kurdi and who is also a doctor, said earlier this week the migrants for the most part had to sleep on deck and were not protected from the weather or the sea water.
He said the migrants were cold, wet and did not have dry clothes to change into. He added that due to the bad weather, they had to be taken below deck. Since Sunday evening, 81 people were huddled together in a room designed for 20 people.
Many of the migrants are suffering with seasickness, Ribbeck said.
“It leaves me speechless that Europe is not in a position to spare 81 people such ordeals,” he said as the migrants lingered on the boat waiting to find a safe port.
Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said the Alan Kurdi is flying a German flag and is run by a German non-governmental organization and with a German captain and therefore it should head to Germany.
Maltese authorities were informed Tuesday morning about the shortage of water and food and a need for some clothing. Malta allowed a transport to replenish supplies on Wednesday.
Sea Eye spokesman Dominik Reisinger said the “political question about the distribution of the rescued overshadows the human rights” of those onboard.