On Monday afternoon at around 1400hrs., the French maritime rescue co-ordination centre (MRCC) at La Garde informed the Armed Forces of Malta’s Operations Centre at Luqa Barracks, that a French naval vessel had encountered a 60-foot long vessel to the East of Malta. The vessel was reported to have onboard some 200 Somali third-country nationals, amongst whom there were around 100 women and children.
An AFM Air Wing helicopter was scrambled to investigate the report. The French naval vessel “La Meuse” was escorting the migrants’ boat in a position some 12 nautical miles from Malta, and made a mid-sea rendezvous with the AFM Maritime Squadron’s Austal-class patrol vessel P-21.
The Maltese seamen reported that the migrants onboard were not feeling well, since they had drunk seawater and requested to enter Malta. The migrants’ boat is under escort by P-21 and is expected at Haywharf Base at around 18.30hrs.
In the meantime, another boat laden with some 300 other migrants was reported in Dahhlet Qorrot in Gozo for which patrolboat P-51 was dispatched to investigate. The migrants escorted by AFM patrol-boat p-32 and berthed at around 1745hrs at Haywharf Base.
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