The migrant rescue boat Alan Kurdi has saved another 44 people, including women and infants from their stricken vessel in the Mediterranean, its operator German charity Sea-Eye said yesterday.
Malta has agreed to take in those rescued and is sending a vessel to pick them up, the charity said in a statement. Maritime tracking websites showed the Alan Kurdi holding its position just outside Maltese territorial waters around 1430 GMT.
Malta’s coastguard confirmed that it would transfer the migrants to one of its vessels in international waters. Valletta however did not say whether a deal had been reached for the migrants’ final destination.
The Alan Kurdi last week rescued 65 shipwrecked migrants attempting the perilous journey from North Africa, handing them over to Malta after hardline Interior Minister Matteo Salvini closed Italy’s ports to the vessel.
Sea-Eye said it was alerted to the plight of the latest migrants off the Libyan coast by Tunisian fishermen and a civilian search plane. The rescued migrants said they had left Zuwara in Libya early Saturday.
Their wooden boat was in Malta’s search and rescue area so Maltese authorities asked a nearby freighter to coordinate the rescue, which told Sea-Eye to take the migrants on board. “Forty-four people, including four women and three children,” were brought aboard the Alan Kurdi, Sea-Eye said.
The children are 15 months, three and five years old. The people come from Syria, Libya, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Guinea, it said. A 15-month-old baby should never have to be in such a life-threatening situation,” said Sea-Eye spokeswoman Carlotta Weibl. The 65 migrants the Alan Kurdi handed over to Maltese authorities on Sunday have already been sent on to other European Union countries.