The Maltese government announced that more than 60 migrants stranded at sea for more than a week on the German rescue ship Alan Kurdi would be taken in by four EU countries after a deal was reached with the European Commission.
Migrants stranded for days on board a humanitarian ship are to be redistributed among Germany, France, Portugal and Luxembourg, the government said on Saturday.
The Maltese Government said in a statement that none of the migrants will remain in Malta and the ship will not be allowed to enter port.
All 64 migrants onboard #AlanKurdi will be disembarked and redistributed between #Germany, #France, #Portugal and #Luxembourg thanks to effective coordination by @EU_Commission and #Malta. None will remain in Malta, which cannot shoulder this burden alone -JM
— Joseph Muscat (@JosephMuscat_JM) April 13, 2019
In a statement the Maltese Government said that none of the migrants will remain in Malta, adding that the smallest member of the European Union could not keep shouldering the burden of taking in migrants.
STATEMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT OF MALTA
All migrants onboard Alan Kurdi to be redistributed to four EU member states
Alan Kurdi will not be allowed to disembark in Malta
Through the coordination of the European Commission, with the cooperation of Malta, the migrants onboard the NGO vessel Alan Kurdi will be redistributed among four EU States, Germany, France, Portugal and Luxembourg.
None of the migrants will remain in Malta. The ship Alan Kurdi will not be allowed to enter Malta.
Malta would like to express its appreciation for the central role taken by the European Commission and the assistance offered by the four Member States which intervened under these circumstances.
Once again, the smallest member of the European Union was put under unnecessary pressure being asked to resolve a case which was neither its responsibility nor its remit. A solution was found in order not to let the situation deteriorate further while making it clear Malta cannot keep shouldering this burden.
Malta calls on the NGOs to abide by all applicable conventions and regulations.
It said the German-flagged ship of NGO Sea-Eye would not be allowed to enter its ports. Instead, the rescued migrants are being brought to Malta on Maltese vessels before being transferred to the other countries.
The Alan Kurdi rescue vessel, named after a three-year-old Syrian refugee boy who drowned in 2015 while trying to reach Europe with his parents, is run by the German nongovernmental organization Sea-Eye. The migrants were rescued near Libya on April 3 but were denied permission to land in Malta or Italy.
Initially, 64 migrants were rescued, but two women were taken to Malta for medical treatment. Sea-Eye said that one crew member was also transferred to Malta overnight with symptoms of exhaustion. The two countries have taken a hard-line on migrants crossing the Mediterranean from North Africa in an attempt to enter Europe.