Malta - IOM welcomes the solution relating to 102 migrants stranded since Monday (5/8) aboard the tanker M/T Salamis off the Maltese coast. The tanker, which was stopped by the Maltese navy before it entered Maltese territorial waters, has now been diverted to the Italian port of Syracuse.
The migrants, who were drifting at sea when rescued by the Salamis, reportedly include pregnant women and other vulnerable individuals.
In a situation of this kind, IOM believes that the priority is to ensure the safety and well-being of the migrants. They should therefore be allowed to receive medical attention and an opportunity to request international protection if so warranted.
IOM commends the rescue operation carried out by the Salamis - a private vessel - and shares the view of European Union Commissioner Cecilia Malmström that any dispute about who is responsible for search and rescue should be clarified at a later stage, as the priority must always be to help migrants in distress and in need of immediate assistance.
While commending the concerted efforts by the international community and the excellent cooperation between Malta and Italy, IOM stands ready to provide support in finding possible solutions for these and other stranded migrants, once the participating states agree an appropriate way forward, based on the principles of burden sharing and solidarity among nations.
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