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French charity saves 153 migrants from Malta

MARSEILLE: The migrant rescue ship Ocean Viking has rescued 153 individuals in trouble off the coast of Malta, according to the French organization SOS Mediterranee, which operates the vessel.

According to the report, the rescue operations in the central Mediterranean on Friday were coordinated by Italian maritime authorities.

The rescues, which came in short succession, involved 59 and 65 passengers aboard two wooden boats, respectively. Following another distress signal, 29 people were rescued from a fiberglass vessel.

The migrants had been at sea for five days and had gone two days without food or drink, according to the report, adding that they were critically dehydrated.

On Thursday, 15 more migrants were rescued in the same region.

According to SOS Mediterranee, Maltese officials have mostly rejected cries for assistance from migrant rescue vessels, and refugees are instead being taken to the Italian port of Civitavecchia, some 1,000 kilometers away.

According to the new Italian government, which campaigned on a vow to “stop arrivals,” charity ships in the area fly under the flags of specified nations, namely France and Germany, which have an obligation to take in some of those rescued.

According to the Italian interior ministry, approximately 90,000 migrants have arrived by sea this year, but France and Germany have only taken in a portion of them.

According to Matteo Villa of the Institute for International Political Studies, migrants rescued by charity ships account for only 14 percent of arrivals over the last year.

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