Over 300 dead in last 10 days as Malta continues its ‘non-response tactics’

SOS Méditerranée’s Ocean Viking humanitarian assistance ship rescued 153 people in Malta’s Search and Rescue Zone on Friday.


More than 300 people have died in the central Mediterranean attempting the crossing from North Africa to Europe between 17 and 27 April, according to the International Organization for Migration’s Missing Migrants Project.

In response to the increasing number of deaths, the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) has meanwhile accused Malta of continuing to turn a blind eye to the situation through its concerted and “notorious non-response tactics”.

As lives continue to be lost in the central Mediterranean, the ECRE said, “Malta continues non-response tactics and Italy continues to delay disembarkation of survivors and thereby limiting much needed NGO rescue capacity.”

The renewed criticism come as the SOS Méditerranée’s Ocean Viking humanitarian assistance ship performed three rescues in seven hours in Malta’s Search and Rescue (SAR) zone and saved 153 people that Malta is meant to be responsible for.

The rescues, it said, were coordinated by the Italian authorities.

The rescues, which were conducted within hours of each other involved migrant vessels in distress carrying 59, 65 and 29 people respectively, SOS Mediterranée said.

It reported they had spent four days at sea exposed to all the elements and were suffering from exhaustion and dehydration.

The Ocean Viking is currently carrying a total of 168 survivors it has rescued, which includes seven women, four children and around 20 unaccompanied minors.

On Thursday, the ECRE updated its Asylum Information Database on Malta for 2022. It showed that asylum seekers applied for international protection in Malta last year. Of the applicants, the largest proportion, 25%, were from Syria, followed by Eritrea and Ukraine, accounting for around another 10% each.

The database showed that over 7,000 migrants were ignored by the authorities while in distress at sea, with Malta being directly involved in at least 14 migrant pushback incidents. The ECRE noted that all asylum seekers rescued at sea were automatically placed in detention for several weeks, despite the Covid-19 quarantine requirements having stopped in May 2022.

The people placed in detention included the vulnerable and children, including those that were unaccompanied.

The ECRE also noted that Malta had rejected asylum applications from all migrants from Egypt, Bangladesh and Senegal, based on the safe country of origin concept. Migrants from countries of origin that are deemed safe are quickly repatriated by the authorities.

On 16 April, Alarm Phone accused Maltese authorities of ordering merchant vessels not to assist two boats carrying some 60 migrants in need of assistance within Malta’s SAR zone, calling it a “cruel prevention of rescue”. Eventually, after repeated criticism and outcry, Maltese authorities gave the go-ahead for the people to be rescued.

In the almost four months preceding the operation, Malta had rescued just one migrant at sea according to data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.


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1 month ago

According to this shameful article, this may be the true meaning of Malta:

Murder And Liar Tricked All 

The behavior is just absolutely disgusting!
Did we elect murderers? – Yes, possibly.
Did we tell them to murder? – Most certainly NOT.

1 month ago

Well, many votes are secure by these inactions…

Gee Mike
Gee Mike
1 month ago

I would have thought shrugging rescue operations, to which one is bound to perform and losing 300 lives, is it not genocide?

Is the Prime ministers daughter’s favourite pastime drowning kittens?
Is her Bathtime spent playing drown the dolly? I wonder.

1 month ago

May be if there were a group of millionaires having problems at sea instead of these poor people. I am sure the story would had been different . They would not have left them ( the well off ) four days at sea but would have gone to their aid there and then.. The nations have to make their duty and stop those making money and risking these people lives. They have to check on the governing of certain areas, people have a right for a better life but this has to be done in a proper manner. Our country is overpopulated but this does not mean we have to close our eyes and not help these humans who are in difficulty. . These then can be helped to go to the larger countries which accepts them .

Joseph Croker
Joseph Croker
29 days ago

“Malta ħanina ħobża u sardina” the saying goes! As long as you are not a refugee originating from the so – called third world, ie.
Admittedly, it is not an easy subject, but lives should be protected at all times.

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