UN urges EU states to take in stranded migrants
BRUSSELS — The United Nations refugee agency urgently appealed to European governments Tuesday to let two migrant rescue ships disembark more than 500 passengers who remain stranded at sea as countries bicker over who should take responsibility for them.
The people rescued while attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa are on ships chartered by humanitarian aid groups that the Italian government has banned from its territory. The archipelago nation of Malta also has refused to let the ships into its ports.
It’s unclear where they might find safe harbor, even though the Italian island of Lampedusa appears closest. About 150 of the rescued passengers have been on the Spanish-flagged charity ship the Open Arms since they were plucked from the Mediterranean 13 days ago.