Malta and Italy between dispute over migrant boat
An overcrowded boat carrying hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean has been at the centre of a dispute between Malta and Italy.
More specifically, Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini urged Malta to rescue some 450 migrants on board a large boat that at the time was in Malta’s search-and-rescue area, saying the boat cannot and must not arrive in Italy.
‘When contacted, the persons on board the vessel informed Malta that their intention was to proceed to Lampedusa,’ the Maltese government said in an official statement.
‘Malta monitored the vessel in order to ensure immediate assistance should it have been required. The vessel is now in Italian territorial waters. Malta has satisfied all obligation under the applicable international conventions on coordination of Search and Rescue events’, the statement said.
In the past four weeks, since charity boats have been locked out of Italian ports, more than 600 people, including children, have drowned or gone missing at sea, the International Organization for Migration estimates.