A Malta patrol boat rescued a group of 85 migrants late Friday night and bring them safe on Saturday morning, the military said.
Immigrants, believed to be from North and East Africa, were in a wooden boat facing drowning, the military spokesperson said.
Malta led the European Union’s efforts to distribute migrants rescued in the Mediterranean between several member states after Italy refused to allow rescue vessels to enter its ports.
Demetris Aframopoulos, EU Commissioner for Migration, visited Malta on Tuesday and hailed the island’s handling of irregular migration across the Mediterranean.
“There is no doubt that Malta faces great challenges in terms of migration compared to the size of the population,” Avramopoulos said.
“In general, at the EU level, the number of illegal arrivals has returned to pre-crisis levels, but in Malta the number of arrivals increased during 2018 due to search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean and the volatile and unstable situation in Libya,” EU Commissioner said