It was a macabre scene that met Malta Armed Forces personnel who went to assist a dinghy at sea. One of the two immigrant occupants was dead and the other one in a grave condition. The corpse was taken aboard the patrol boat while the other immigrant was hoisted by helicopter and speedily taken to Mater Dei Hospital.
The AFM issued a picture of the two persons as they were found in the dinghy. It is not as yet known whether there may have also been other persons on the dinghy because it is not normal that such a large dinghy only had two persons on board.
Meanwhile the AFM is continuing with its work while on the diplomatic front it seems that contact is continuing between the EU Commission and various governments regarding the immigrants on board the vessel Open Arms run by a Spanish NGO. The AFM also evacuated eight immigrants in need of urgent medical treatment. Malta had also offered to accept the 39 immigrants rescued in the Malta rescue zone but so far no agreement has been reached on a group of other immigrants rescued earlier this month just off the Libyan coast.
The Minister for Internal Affairs and National Security, Michael Farrugia, tweeted that Malta had saved the immigrant on the dinghy and had landed the corpse of the other deceased immigrant. He maintained that this is daily work the AFM carries out but emphasised that Malta cannot do such work alone.
The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, urged Europe to enable the 507 immigrants saved, 151 on Open Arms and another 356 on the vessel Ocean Viking, to be landed. It said that this is a race against time because of approaching bad weather at sea and the deteriorating condition of the immigrants.
Meanwhile in a comment on Facebook, Opposition Leader Adrian Delia said that although Malta is one of the smallest countries in the world it also has a moral obligation to stand up for those most vulnerable. He said the Opposition is urging the Government to enable the landing of these vulnerable persons that are currently stranded at sea on rescue vessels.