PARIS (AP) — The Latest on migration into Europe (all times local):
The crew of a German humanitarian ship carrying about 100 migrants in the Mediterranean has appealed to Malta to help find a quick solution so the ship can enter a safe harbor.
German group Lifeline wrote in a letter Wednesday that “we are not in a position to manage a prolonged stand-off.”
The German government said it is willing to take in a considerable number of people, but asked the European Commission to help organize the coordination of the case.
Lifeline picked up the people Monday in a rubber lifeboat about 50 kilometers (30 miles) off the Libyan coast.
While Italy and Malta are the closest European ports, Italy has constructed a policy to exclude humanitarian rescue ships. Malta generally has accepted migrants rescued in its area of responsibility. The positions have led to numerous standoffs.
Italian aid group Mediterranea Charity says a ship it operates has rescued about 100 migrants, including 8 pregnant women and 22 children, and is asking Italian authorities to provide a safe port for them.
The Italian NGO tweeted that the rescue happened early on Wednesday, after the Mare Jonio spotted a rubber boat on its radar.
Mediterranea said the boat was overcrowded, drifting and already partly deflated, adding: “Luckily we arrived in time to rescue them.”
In response to the group’s request, Italy’s maritime authorities said they should turn to Libyan authorities.
The group said it is asking for an alternative solution, as Libya is not considered safe.
Italy’s hard-line Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has repeatedly refused to let ships carrying migrants enter Italian waters, prompting a string of standoffs with NGOs active in the Mediterranean.
French maritime authorities say 47 migrants, including two dozen children, have been rescued over two days as they tried to cross the English Channel to Britain.
The authorities said that In the first incident, on Tuesday, British authorities were alerted by a fishing boat and a French patrol boat headed to the zone where 22 people — five men, six women and 11 children — were rescued.
Before dawn on Wednesday, 25 more migrants, including three children, were found stranded on a sandbank off the French port of Calais.
A Marine helicopter plucked 12 migrants from the sandbank while the other 13 made their way to shore as the tide receded.
Migrants in small boats are regularly rescued crossing the Channel.