Maltese Navy saves 216 migrants in the Mediterranean

File AFP

UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — The Maltese navy said on Saturday night it rescued 216 migrants on board two boats facing difficulties in the Mediterranean.

The immigrants were supposed to arrive in Valletta on Saturday, when Maltese voters vote in the European elections.

A first group of immigrants was rescued on Friday evening after a distress call they launched as water leaked into their boat.

On Saturday night, Malta received another distress call. A patrol boat bound for Valletta returned to save the second group. The Maltese navy said among the rescued migrants were women and children.

Malta, a small country of 450,000 people and located south of Sicily, has done what it can to get Italy to save and receive migrants from Libya to try to reach Europe.

But the near-total absence of rescue vessels off the coast of Libya and the Italian People’s Government Party have brought Valletta back to the immigration map.

This brings to 500 the number of immigrants who have reached the small archipelago since January, compared to 1425 per Italy.

At the end of March, Malta received a small oil tanker kidnapped by migrants rescued off the coast of Libya. Three boys were sentenced for hijacking, but the other 105 were received as asylum seekers.


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