Malta received 44 migrants who were rescued from the Mediterranean Sea by the rescue boat Alan Kurdi on Tuesday, July 9. The rescue ship handed over the migrants to the Malta Coast Guards after it was denied permission to dock at the Lampedusa port in Italy. The migrants are now awaiting relocation to other European Union member states. Earlier on Sunday, the crew had handed over 65 migrants to the Maltese Army to take them ashore.
The NGO Sea Eye that operates Alan Kurdi posted on Facebook, “On Sunday evening, the crew of the #alankurdi handed over 65 rescued to the Maltese Army. The crew immediately decided to return to the field. On Monday noon, the sea-eye crew received an emergency call. In coordination with the Maltese authorities, 44 people could be rescued from a wooden boat in the evening and brought to safety. Among the rescued are 4 women and 3 children. The youngest child is only 15 months old.”
Due to the escalation of the civil war in Libya, the flow of migrants crossing the Mediterranean on unseaworthy vessels has increased. On July 2, the risks that refugees face in Libya were highlighted when 53 people were killed in an airstrike, reportedly by Libyan militia, at the Tajoura migrant detention center in the east of Tripoli. On July 3, a boat carrying 86 people that departed from Libya capsized near the Tunisian coast.
The anti-immigrant policies of the far-right Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini have also aggravated the humanitarian crisis in the region. Salvini has closed Italian ports to migrant vessels and rescue ships.
The name of the rescue vessel Alan Kurdi was given as a tribute to a three-year-old Syrian boy who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea on September 2, 2015.