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New migrant standoff brewing as Sea Watch 3 heads towards Malta with rescued migrants

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The NGO migrant rescue ship Sea Watch 3, with 47 rescued migrants aboard, is steaming towards Malta to shelter from bad weather.

Earlier this month, the vessel, along with another rescue ship operated by a different NGO, were left stranded off Malta for over two weeks until the EU brokered a migrant sharing agreement.

The Sea Watch 3 picked up the migrants off the Libyan coast. The Italian authorities refused it entry at Lampedusa.

The vessel has since sought permission to head towards Malta for shelter but is still waiting for permission from the authorities to enter Maltese waters. The NGO said the boat will not enter Maltese waters without permission.

On its twitter account, the NGO said the migrants have been on board the ship for five days. It said the tent roof on the back deck was leaking, “It is damp and cold. Again a mighty storm is rolling towards us and again we are without a safe haven.”

In a tweet, Italian Home Affairs Matteo Salvini said the ship was sailing towards Malta in worsening weather conditions. It is necessary that Malta allows the ship to dock in its ports, he said, while the Netherlands should collaborate with the Maltese authorities to manage the disembarkation under the direction of the EU. The Italian ports are closed, Salvini said. 

Original article found on The Malta Independent

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