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Dozens of migrants aboard Alan Kurdi rescue ship disembark in Malta

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By Rachael Kennedy
Dozens of migrants aboard Alan Kurdi rescue ship disembark in Malta

Dozens of migrants aboard a German-operated rescue boat have been allowed to disembark in Malta, authorities have said.

The 65 migrants, who were aboard the Alan Kurdi rescue ship, are now awaiting relocation to other EU member states.

In a series of tweets on Sunday, Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said the group were met by an army vessel in the country's waters, where they changed boats and were taken to shore.

"All rescued persons on board will be immediately relocated to other EU member states," Muscat wrote.

He added: "None of the said immigrants will remain in Malta as this case was not under the responsibility of the Maltese authorities."

Three people aboard the boat who needed medical treatment after collapsing in the heat were evacuated immediately.

In a further tweet, Muscat said another 58 migrants were rescued in a separate operation by the country's armed forces.

Half of those rescued in the Maltese operation would be relocated to other EU member states "as a sign of recognition to the goodwill of the Malta government," he said.

The Alan Kurdi rescue boat — named after a Syrian toddler who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea — was originally en route to Italy, but changed course for Malta after being blocked from docking.

Other rescue boats that defied the docking ban over the weekend were later impounded by Italian authorities.

Sea-Eye, the NGO operating the Alan Kurdi boat, thanked the Maltese authorities in a brief statement on Sunday.

It added: "We continue to save lives. That's why we're on our way back to the search and rescue zone."

German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said Germany would take in up to 40 of the migrants "in the spirit of European solidarity".

It is not yet known where the rest of the rescued migrants will be relocated.

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