The Latest: Malta confirms Lifeline allowed to enter waters

The Latest: Malta confirms Lifeline allowed to enter waters
The Associated Press

THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — The Latest on Europe’s migrant crisis (all times local):

12:45 p.m.


Malta has confirmed that the migrant rescue ship Lifeline has permission to enter its waters to shelter from rough seas, but not its ports.

German humanitarian group Mission Lifeline said on Twitter Wednesday that it had received permission to enter Maltese waters to seek protection from high winds.

Permission was confirmed by Home Affairs Minister Michael Farrugia. The ship until now has been in a contiguous zone, a band of water still under Malta’s responsibility but at the outer edge of territorial seas.

Lifeline is still waiting for permission to make port and disembark more than 200 migrants, some of whom they say are in a fragile state of health. The boat has been in a holding pattern for six days after Italy refused to grant safe harbor.


11:35 a.m.

A German lawmaker says conditions on the migrant rescue ship denied landing in Malta are deteriorating, as the weather takes a turn for the worse.

Manuel Sarrazin, a Green party lawmaker who’s in regular contact with the Lifeline and its supporters, said Wednesday that the crew were close to declaring a medical emergency overnight for two of the over 200 migrants on board.

Sarrazin told The Associated Press that “doctors on board were able to stabilize them so the evacuation, which would have been very dangerous, didn’t have to take place.”

He said the passengers are suffering from severe sea sickness due to rough seas, adding: “They are at risk of dehydration. It’s been clear for days that the situation could get worse. There needs to be a solution soon.”


11:30 a.m.

A German rescue ship with more than 200 migrants on board remains in a holding pattern off Malta for the sixth day after EU states failed to agree on a plan to equitably distribute the migrants.

Mission Lifeline spokesman Axel Steier said Wednesday that weather conditions were deteriorating and some people rescued at sea were in fragile health.

Italy on Tuesday said a deal had been reached that included Italy taking some migrants, and that the ship would head to Malta. But Malta later indicated it didn’t have a broader agreement it was seeking from EU states, with just four countries agreeing to take migrants.

Steier claimed that the crisis was blocked by Germany’s interior minister, citing media reports. The Interior Ministry did not immediately comment.


11:00 a.m.

Greek authorities say a vehicle carrying 10 migrants has crashed in rainfall on a highway in northern Greece, killing two and injuring the other eight.

Police said the 10, including two children, were believed to have crossed the Greek-Turkish border recently, and were being driven to the northern city of Thessaloniki. The car’s driver escaped and was being sought.

The two dead were both men, authorities said. The remaining eight were transferred to a local hospital, where their condition was not listed as serious. Firefighters said the injured said they were Syrian.

Thousands of migrants continue to arrive in Greece, hoping to eventually make it into more prosperous European Union countries. Many cross from the Greek-Turkish land border, as well as to eastern Aegean islands from the nearby Turkish coast.