The Armed Forces of Malta’s Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Malta) at Luqa Barracks has been coordinating a rescue case involving some 73 irregular migrants adrift south of Malta.
In reaction to the initial alert, RCC Malta dispatched an AFM Air Wing Alouette helicopter to the scene to evaluate the situation. After a search was conducted, the boat in distress was located some 32 nautical miles (NM) south of Malta, and appeared to be adrift in relatively heavy seas and strong winds.
Consequently, an AFM Maritime Squadron Protector-class patrol craft was sent to the location. The AFM’s P51 arrived on scene at 10:00hrs, and located a dinghy powered by an outboard engine. Given the weather conditions prevailing at the time whilst the dinghy was adrift, and coupled with a request for assistance from the persons aboard, their rescue was initiated. Said rescue operation was significantly hampered by the inclement weather in the area, but by 12 noon the P-51’s crew successfully rescued all the party in distress, which was made up of 22 women and 51 men.
All those rescued are reported to be in reasonable health, and P51 is proceeding to return to its Haywharf base in Floriana, where the persons will be disembarked at circa 13:45hrs.
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