Migrants rescued after raft sinks near Malta

Intervention by US navy ship follows spotting of boat with more than 128 people caught in strong winds and high waves.

Last Modified: 17 Oct 2013 05:18
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
The Mediterranean island of Malta wants the EU to help it cope with a growing influx of refugees [AP]

More than 128 migrants have been rescued after their raft sank off the Mediterranean coast of Malta, amid a fresh appeal by the country's prime minister to Europe to take action to manage the growing influx of refugees.

Winds and seas were rocking the raft when it was spotted by a Maltese patrol aircraft on Wednesday.

A tanker was the first on the scene but its crew said they could not haul the migrants on board, forcing an intervention by a US navy ship headquartered in Naples, Italy.

The boat issued an SOS call because it risked capsizing in strong winds and high waves. The migrants were taken back to Malta.

Hundreds of asylum-seekers have drowned in two tragedies this month - the first on October 3 near the Italian island of Lampedusa, the second on October 11 between Lampedusa and Malta.

Joseph Muscat, the Maltese prime minister, meanwhile, called on the European Union to "translate words into action", following promises of greater assistance with asylum-seekers.

A summit of EU leaders in Brussels next week is expected to discuss the refugee issue.


Al Jazeera and agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Private citizens take initiative to help 'irregular' migrants, accusing governments of excessive focus on security.
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps will be released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.