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The Armed Forces of Malta has reported that a group of 65 irregular migrants were rescued earlier this evening, as they were taking in water on board the rubber dinghy they were travelling on. The majority of the migrants claim to be Eritrean and 4 are Somalis. They are made up of 47 males, 17 females and a 2-year old boy.

The rescue operation was triggered in the very early hours of this morning (Wednesday) by alerts initially received by Italian rescue authorities in Rome, news of which was coordinated with the AFM’s Rescue and Cordination Centre and Libyan authorities as well.

Merchant vessels in the area were purposely diverted to the area where the migrants in distress were reported, as an AFM Maritime Squadron patrol boat and Air Wing PBN Islander aircraft were dispatched to search for the migrants dinghy. Two Italian rescue vessels were also coordinated into the search effort.

By early afternoon, the Italian Coast Guard vessel “Saettia” located the migrants, as the AFM’s P-52 patrol vessel was also proceeding on the search in the area. The migrants were located some 74 nautical miles south of Malta, and they have been taken onbaord the AFM’s P-52 which is steaming back to Malta. From this group of migrants, 61

P-52, a Protector-class patrol vessel, is expected back at its home berth at the Maritime Squadron of Haywharf, Floriana at 02:00 hrs later tonight.

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