Luxembourg accepts some of 49 migrants stranded at sea

Evarado Alatorre
Enero 10, 2019

In addition, the countries will also take in numerous 249 migrants already in Malta.

"An ad hoc agreement has been reached", Muscat told reporters on Wednesday, adding that the deal included a decision on the fate of 249 migrants already in Malta.

The deal calls for 300 migrants to be redistributed between eight countries, including Ireland.

Joseph Muscat, prime minister of Malta, announced the details that end the deadlock that began when 32 people were rescued by the Dutch-flagged humanitarian rescue ship "Sea-Watch 3" on 22 December.

They will then be distributed between eight European Union countries including Germany, France, Portugal, Ireland, Romania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Italy, said Muscat.

"After 19 days at sea, our guests finally have a safe haven", Sea-Watch tweeted.

Celebrations aboard the Sea Watch on Wednesday.

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Priority will be given to vulnerable people including women and children, according to EU Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos, who welcomed Italy's cooperation but said that a system was needed to avoid such emergency solutions in future.

"It is a testament to state failure; politics should never be played at the cost of people in need."

Malta will take in 78 of the 298 migrants itself.

But with no country allowing them to dock, they were left stranded off the coast of Malta, suffering sea sickness and dehydration, with some briefly refusing food and an onboard doctor warning of psychological stress.

The migrants involved in the EU-brokered deals are part of waves of people fleeing poverty and conflict in Africa, Asia or the Middle East, who have risked their lives aboard smugglers' boats to try to reach European shores in recent years. Malta now cleared the way for them to disembark.

Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte has said that if Italy takes about 15 rescued migrant children and their parents that wouldn't "stain" the country's crackdown on accepting migrants rescued by private aid vessels.

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