A standoff between Malta and Spain over the fate of some 50 African migrants has been resolved. They had been stranded off the coast of Malta after being picked up by a Spanish fishing boat nearly a week ago. Malta refused to let them dock, saying they had been rescued outside its territorial waters. Spain has now agreed to send a plane for them. Conditions on the vessel have not been easy but the ship’s chef says he always cooks more than is needed. “If anyone’s hungry, there should be plenty to eat.”
Mainly from Eritrea, the migrants will be shared out between Spain, Libya, Italy, Andorra. They are grateful to the crew who picked them up. For some of the fishermen though, the incident has left a sour taste: “It’s incredible, the reaction of the international community will make us think twice about saving immigrants adrift again and that’s awful.”
Since January almost 1,000 migrants have landed on Malta, which has a total population of just 400,000.