EU nations deadlocked on rescued migrants

Young children are on board and at risk of illness, rescuers said.

The Dutch-flagged rescue vessel Sea Watch 3 sails the Mediterranean about 3 nautical miles off Malta's coast on January 4, 2019.  Thirty-two migrants, including children and teenagers rescued off Malta by a Sea-Watch rescue boat on December 22, 2018 remain at sea after being denied entry to European ports. The boat was given permission by Malta on January 3 to shelter off its coast due to a storm and fierce winds, but not to land. / AFP / FEDERICO SCOPPA
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Nearly 50 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean by two ships run by rights groups are still looking for countries to take them in, one of the groups told AFP Saturday.

"The situation is still the same," a spokeswoman for one of the groups, Sea Watch, said.

Their vessel, Sea Watch 3, was sheltering from stormy weather off the coast of Malta, which like Italy, has refused to allow the boat into port.

It has had 32 migrants on board, three of them children, since rescuing them on December 22.

A one-year-old baby and two children, aged six and seven, "are vomiting continuously and are at risk of hypothermia and dehydration," Alessandro Metz of rights group Mediterranean wrote on Twitter Friday.

The German NGO Sea-Eye also has a ship stranded in the Mediterranean with 17 migrants on board.


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The row is the latest in a series about the sea rescues that has thrown a spotlight on the deadlock between EU countries over sharing responsibility for migrant and refugee arrivals.

Italy, Malta, Spain and The Netherlands initially refused to take in migrants from either of the boats.

But Germany and The Netherlands later said they would allow some in, on the condition that other nations did too.