A group of 115 illegal immigrants were rescued on Saturday afternoon from their punctured dinghy by Armed Forces of Malta patrol vessels, after they were sighted adrift by a local fisherman.
At around 09:30am, the AFM’s Rescue Co-ordination Centre at Luqa Barracks was informed by a local fisherman that a dinghy with illegal migrants onboard were adrift in a position to the south of Malta.
The Maritime Squadron’s Bremse-class patrolcraft P-32 proceeded at speed to the reported location to render assistance as required. The fisherman had in the meantime come alongside the illegal immigrants, some whom were reported as being seasick.
The group of illegal immigrants asserted they had left from Libya, and claimed to be Somali. They were not wearing any lifejackets, and by 1:50pm the Vittoria-class rescue-launch Melita-1 was also on location to provide life-jackets, food and drink as humanitarian aid.
As the migrants dinghy was already taking in water, and 5 of their party were already in the water, the Protector-class vessel P-51 was also dispatched to the scene at 4pm. The illegal immigrants, made up of 34 women and 81 men, were taken onboard all three AFM Maritime Squadron vessels on location.
The first group of illegal immgrants were landed at Maritime Squadron’s base in Haywharf, Floriana onboard Melita-1 by 8pm.
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