Italy takes in stranded migrants after Malta refuses them
ROME (REUTERS) - Italy on Wednesday allowed 102 migrants who were stranded on a tanker in the Mediterranean to disembark on the Sicilian coast after Malta refused them entry for three days despite European Union calls for it to help on humanitarian grounds.
The migrants, mainly from north Africa, were rescued from a boat 39 km off the Libyan coast on Sunday by the Liberian-registered tanker Salamis.
The tanker then headed for Malta but was refused entry to Maltese water by the government.
Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat resisted calls from EU authorities to let the migrants in, saying they were not in distress. He said the ship's captain had ignored orders by rescue authorities to send the ship back to Libya.