The Latest: Malta lets 5 more refugees in, still blocks ship


A member of the SOS Mediterranee search and rescue team speaks to a member of the German group Resqship before migrants rescued by the Josefa are to be onto a dinghy to be taken onto the humanitarian ship Ocean Viking, in the Mediterranean Sea, late Monday, Sept. 9, 2019. Thirty-four migrants including women and the small child who were rescued by the German sailboat have been successfully taken aboard the humanitarian ship in international waters north of Libya despite a thunderstorm. (AP Photo/Renata Brito)

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The Latest on migrants in Europe (all times local):

5:25 p.m.

The last five migrants stranded aboard a German charity rescue boat are being taken to Malta.

The Maltese government said Tuesday the impasse ended after it offered disembarkation following the rescue group Sea-Eye’s decision to drop a judicial complaint against Malta.

The rescue ship Alan Kurdi saved 13 people who were fleeing Tunisia 10 days earlier. In recent days, eight were evacuated for medical reasons. Malta said two fellow EU nations will take the migrants, following transfer to Maltese military vessels.

The Alan Kurdi, which Malta wouldn’t let dock, can then set sail.

The boat is named for a Syrian refugee boy who drowned in the Mediterranean. The toddler’s body washed ashore in Turkey.

Malta and Italy have consistently refused to let charity rescue ships dock, claiming they facilitate human trafficking.


3:40 p.m.

Police in northeastern Slovenia say 40 migrants were discovered packed inside a van and another six who couldn’t fit inside the vehicle were found in a forest nearby.

A statement carried by Slovenia’s official STA news agency on Tuesday said the van’s driver was detained and one passenger was hospitalized.

Police say the migrants were from Pakistan, Afghanistan and India. They are believed to have entered Slovenia from Croatia, so they were sent back there.

Thousands of migrants are stuck in the Balkans while trying to reach western Europe on a route that takes them from Bosnia and Serbia into Croatia, then Slovenia and beyond.


1:25 p.m.

Greece’s coast guard says it has seized a sailing boat and arrested two people on suspicion of trying to smuggle 37 migrants to Italy.

The coast guard said Tuesday the Ukrainian-flagged boat was stopped in the Ionian Sea northwest of the island of Zakinthos on Monday morning. The 37 people crammed on board were transported to Zakinthos port, while the boat was confiscated. The nationalities of the passengers were not released.

Authorities said they were investigating whether the two suspects, identified only as foreigners aged 35 and 49, might be part of an international migrant smuggling ring.

Hundreds of people continue to arrive in Greece from Turkey, most hoping to make their way to more prosperous European nations further north. With routes through the Balkans blocked, many turn to smugglers.


1:50 a.m.

Thirty-four migrants including women and a small child who had been rescued by a German sailboat were successfully transferred to a larger humanitarian ship during a thunderstorm in international waters north of Libya.

The transfer happened late Monday about 120 kilometers (75 miles) off the Libyan coast, near the Bouri offshore oil field.

The 22 men, six women and a 1-year-old boy had been rescued earlier in the day from a rubber boat with a broken engine by the crew of a 14-meter-long sailboat operated by the German charity Resqship.

Wrapped in shiny thermal blankets, the migrants were transferred in pouring rain to the much larger Ocean Viking after the sailboat declared a state of emergency.

An Associated Press journalist aboard the Ocean Viking, a Norwegian-flagged ship run jointly by SOS Mediterranee and Doctors Without Borders, witnessed the operation.

There are now more than 80 migrants on the ship, which rescued 50 others over the weekend.

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