Migrants rescued by Maltese armed forces


Malta’s armed forces rescued nearly 400 migrants in four separate sea operations and brought them ashore on the small Mediterranean island, the military said.

A government official said it was one of the largest numbers of arrivals to Malta in many months.

An army source said other migrant boats were monitored in the central Mediterranean. It was not immediately clear if Maltese authorities planned to intervene.

NGOs report several boats are trying to cross the Mediterranean and reach Europe.

Sea Watch International said on Twitter a rubber dinghy with at least 80 people on board was deflating about 50 nautical miles north of Garabulli in Libya. “Many people in the water, high probability of missing and drowned,” it said, adding the Libyan Coast Guard was on the scene.

Malta repeatedly said its patrol boats will only rescue migrants when they are in distress.

Malta and neighbouring Italy closed ports over the past year to charity ships picking up migrants off Libya and called on the European Union to share out any arriving migrants between member states.