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pr200673en

PR200673en

15/04/2020

STATEMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT OF MALTA

​​The Malta Rescue and Coordination Centre has coordinated the rescue of an immigrant boat that left Libya and, after a few days in Libyan waters, entered Malta’s Search and Rescue Area.​

The boat in question had already been in distress for a number of days while in Libya’s Search and Rescue Area, not in Malta’s SAR. The European Union was aware of the boat as it was located in Libya’s Search and Rescue Area. The EU flew its aircrafts over the area but did not send any vessels to pick up the migrants.
 
The Malta Rescue and Coordination Centre immediately followed the established coordination procedures once the boat was in Malta’s SAR/SRR and communicated the necessary information through what is known as NAVTEX.  The Armed Forces of Malta also made a number of flights to pinpoint where this boat was located, as soon as it was reported to be in Malta’s SAR. During one of these flights, the boat’s exact location was established and the AFM called nearby vessels to assist.
 
In fact, the migrants were assisted by a commercial vessel, which was dispatched to the location of the boat for assistance. Later, a Libyan fishing vessel took the migrants on board. 
 
During this time, the Armed Forces of Malta was also coordinating four other similar cases on its own.
 
While Malta is still engaged in coordination work related to migrant boats, the Government of Malta continues to reiterate the need for the European Union to launch a humanitarian mission in Libya so that people no longer continue to risk their lives trying to flee the country.
 
The Government of Malta remains committed to continue its fight against migrant smuggling and against those who continue to facilitate irregular travel.