Rescue ship docks in Malta after seven countries agree to take refugees, Ireland commits to taking 25

A humanitarian rescue ship blocked at sea for nearly a week as European nations argued over its fate has arrived in Malta to disembark 234 migrants.

The ship picked up the migrants off the Libyan coast six days ago but has been waiting at sea for safe haven since then.

MV Lifeline

Ireland is among eight European nations who have agreed to house the migrants.

The government is committed to relocating 25 of those on board the ship.

The Tánaiste says he hopes Ireland's decision to take 25 migrants from a stranded rescue ship will encourage other EU countries to do the same.

On the ship's approach, migrants crowded the deck wearing orange life jackets, many waving, as it entered the main port in Valletta under escort by a Malta patrol boat.

The commander of the ship operated by the German aid group Mission Lifeline sounded the boat's horn with two long blasts to salute the migrants after their shared journey, and raised a yellow flag to signal permission to authorities to board.

One by one, the migrants were escorted off by officials and medical personnel in white overalls and gloves.

A girl in pink shorts no more than five years old - one of five children on the ship - was cradled gingerly by an official. One man walked unsteadily, leaning on a helper, while another wearing shorts and a white polo shirt was barefoot and wrapped in a red blanket.

Earlier this month, Italy and Malta both refused port to French humanitarian ship the Aquarius, forcing some 630 migrants to travel an additional 900 miles to Spain.

Lifeline said that along with the worsening weather, some migrants were in fragile health.

- Digital Desk


Related Articles

Ireland in talks to take migrants from ship floating off Malta's coast since December

UK sends Navy vessel to patrol Channel amid refugee concerns

British Home Secretary questions whether cross-Channel migrants are ‘genuine’ asylum seekers

UK Border Force cutters to patrol English Channel amid migrant crossings

More in this Section

Footballer Jay Donnelly’s appeal against indecent image sentence adjourned

'Excruciatingly embarrassing' Garda Commissioner press conference was too long, says former Garda

'Take a day off work or school' to see total eclipse of the Moon, says Astronomy Ireland founder

Standards body to bring in new wiring rules for electricians by end of year


Lifestyle

Fixing leeks in the cold snap

How some home truths can help save the planet

Wish List: Some delightfully eclectic products we need in our lives

Get smart about your bathroom with these app-based ecosystems

More From The Irish Examiner