More than 60 migrants stranded off the coast of Malta on the Sea-Eye NGO vessel disembarked in the capital Valetta on Saturday. Meanwhile, the crew was blocked from landing and is headed towards Spain.
Sixty-two migrants stranded at sea for more than a week on the German rescue ship Alan Kurdi landed in Malta late Saturday after four European Union countries agreed to take them in. They will be redistributed among Germany, France, Portugal and Luxembourg.
The crew managing the Alan Kurdi meanwhile was denied entry. According to its captain Werner Czerwinski, the vessel is now headed towards Spain in search of a new harbor. Due to the blockage, the NGO has announced the cancellation of its next mission in the central Mediterranean Sea.
In a joint statement with other sea rescue organizations, Sea-Eye expressed relief over the fact that the migrants were finally allowed to land but emphasized its dismay over what the organization calls an another "shameful episode" and unnecessary prolongation of an emergency at sea by EU member states.
"Once more, the law of the sea, international law, and human rights law were brutally violated, as the people were not immediately disembarked at the nearest place of safety," they write on the case of Alan Kurdi.
In view of repeated standoffs and growing defamation of civil rescue organizations asserted especially by the Italian and Maltese governments, the NGOs call for European member states to step up to their responsibilities. The fate of people rescued at sea should not depend on prolonged negotiations about redistribution. "It is in this sea where the future of our societies is at stake, now more than ever," the NGOs added.The migrants rescued by the Alan Kurdi were picked up on April 3 near Libya. Initially, 64 migrants were rescued, including 12 women and two children aged one and six years old, but two women were taken to Malta early last week for medical treatment.