'Lifeline' rescue ship docks in Malta after days stranded at sea

Ireland has agreed to take in 25 of the rescued people on board

'Lifeline' rescue ship docks in Malta after days stranded at sea

The MV Lifeline, carrying 234 migrants, arrives at the Valletta port in Malta, 2706-2018. Image: Renata Brito/AP/Press Association Images

The MV Lifeline Rescue ship has docked in Malta after days stranded at sea.

The ship is carrying 234 people who were rescued from the Mediterranean.

The humanitarian vessel had been turned away from several ports as political tensions continue to rise across the EU over the migrant crisis.

Ireland is among eight European countries to have offered to take in some of the people on board – with Portugal, Malta, France, Italy and Spain also offering to help.

The Government has committed to relocating 25 of those on board the ship.

The Lifeline is the second humanitarian vessel that the Italian Government has refused to let dock since the country’s new anti-immigrant Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said private rescue vessels would no longer be welcome.

The Aquarius convoy was eventually allowed to dock in Spain.

The MV Lifeline, carrying 234 migrants, arrives at the Valletta port in Malta, 2706-2018. Image: Jonathan Borg/AP/Press Association Images

After allowing the Lifeline to dock, Malta’s Prime Minister Kevin Muscat said his government, “took the lead on a solution before the situation escalated to a humanitarian crisis.”

He warned however that the small island nation was not legally obliged to take in the vessel.

This morning the ship’s crew warned that deteriorating weather conditions and the “increasingly fragile health situation on board” was adding to the urgency of the situation.

The crew noted that despite a number of media reports, it had not ignored the instructions of any Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre’s (MRCC).

They said the only instructions it ignored was the order to hand the recued people over to the “so-called Libyan Coastguard.”

“This would have been not in line with the Geneva Refugee Convention and therefore criminal,” they said. 

The MV Lifeline, carrying 234 migrants, arrives at the Valletta port in Malta, 2706-2018. Image: Renata Brito/AP/Press Association Images