VALLETTA, July 8 (Xinhua) — A group of 52 migrants who were rescued from the high seas on Saturday were allowed to disembark in Malta, local media reported on Wednesday.
The migrants were transferred to an Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) vessel Tuesday evening from a livestock carrier ship, the Talia, which had housed them for days. Then they were brought to Malta by the AFM vessel and disembarked at Boiler wharf early Wednesday morning.
Malta on Sunday refused to permit the migrants to disembark before a European solution is found for their relocation. Later, the Maltese government allowed the Talia to enter Maltese territorial waters to shelter from the bad weather that is affecting the Mediterranean region due to strong winds.
Malta closed its ports to asylum seekers last April due to COVID-19 and told the European Union it could not guarantee the resources needed to conduct rescues at sea because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following its decision to close its ports, the government said that it still wanted to live up to its international obligations to rescue people at sea who were in distress.
Malta’s migrant detention centers are almost at full capacity, especially after the landing of a large group of more than 450 migrants last month.