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Brussels, 6 August 2013
Commissioner Cecilia Malmström urges the Maltese authorities to take action
According to the information available to the Commission, the master of the ship M/V SALAMIS has fulfilled his humanitarian duties to save the lives of 102 people on the high sea, amongst them four pregnant women, one injured woman as well as a five months old baby.
After the rescue, the master of the ship continued his way to the port of destination in Malta.
The ship is now closest to Malta and waiting to disembark the rescued people. It is first and foremost important to save the lives of the rescued persons. Any dispute about the responsible search and rescue authority, including the involvement of the Italian and Libyan authorities, as well as the right place of disembarkation does not help the persons in immediate need. These issues should be clarified at a later stage.
At this point in time, it is the humanitarian duty of the Maltese authorities to allow these persons to disembark. Sending the ship back to Libya would be contrary to international law. The master of the ship has dispatched an urgent medical request as the injured woman needs immediate hospitalisation.
While understanding the particular migratory pressure that Malta is facing, the Commission urges Maltese authorities to let these persons disembark as soon as possible.