Humanitarian aid ship with 64 migrants stranded at sea

Italy and Malta are refusing to let a humanitarian aid ship carrying 64 rescued migrants enter the countries for safe harbor, leaving the ship and migrants stranded in the Mediterranean Sea.

The Associated Press reports the migrants were rescued Wednesday near Libya by a German humanitarian group, Sea-Eye.

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“We have no idea yet where we can disembark,” Carlotta Weibl, spokesperson for Sea-Eye, told the AP. “Malta says we can’t enter their waters and we are unlikely to get permission from Italy.”

The ship on Thursday was just miles from the Italian island of Lampedusa.

Included in the ship of rescued migrants are a newborn baby and a young child, Weibl said.

She said the ship is too small for the 64 migrants, and many are sleeping on the deck outside even as it rains.

Matteo Salvini, Italy’s interior minister, said Wednesday the country would not accept the ship and that it should “go to Hamburg” since it is a German-based ship.

Weibl said a trip to Hamburg from the Mediterranean Sea is unrealistic since it would take weeks and the ship is already low on supplies.

“It’s a journey of three to four weeks [to Hamburg]. We don’t have food and water, so it’s completely out of the question,” she said.

Italy recently has taken a more hard-line stance on accepting migrants and asylum seekers, leaving other members of the European Union to take rescue ships holding migrants.

Weibl said Sea-Eye's ship, the Alan Kurdi, is currently the only one operating in the Mediterranean Sea.