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Malta will take in 49 migrants stranded on boats, then redistribute EU countries

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Malta will take in 49 migrants stranded on boats, then redistribute EU countries
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REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi
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Malta will take in the 49 migrants stranded on two humanitarian rescue ships since last month, said Prime Minister Joseph Muscat on Wednesday at a press conference.

They will then be redistributed among eight European Union countries.

Pope Francis has used his Epiphany address to urge European leaders to welcome 49 migrants stranded aboard two humanitarian rescue ships in the Mediterranean.

The Sea-Watch 3 ship, which is run by a German humanitarian group, picked up 32 people from a boat off the coast of Libya on December 22.

Another German-run organisation, Sea-Eye, rescued 17 others a couple of days later on December 29.

The two ships were stranded at sea for awhile after Italy, Malta and all other EU countries refused to offer them a port of safety, said Reuters.

The migrants will be transferred to Maltese military ships that will bring them ashore. They will then be distributed between eight EU countries including Germany, France, Portugal, Ireland, Romania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Italy, said Muscat.

"The migrants will be transferred ship to ship", the government's press officer told Euronews.

You can watch the press conference at the following link: