Updated - Migrants stand-off ends as tanker heads for Syracuse - new group arrives
A stand-off of almost three days ended early this morning when a tanker carrying 102 migrants lifted anchor and headed for Syracuse after having been blocked just outside Maltese waters on Sunday night.
The MT Salamis had rescued the migrants from a boat just 24 miles off Libya and had been heading for Malta when it was stopped from entering Maltese territorial waters. The government said the ship's master had ignored orders by the Italian and Maltese rescue authorities to return the migrants to Libya.
Last night the government said Italy had accepted to take in the migrants, diffusing the situation after diplomatic contacts between Malta, Italy and Greece.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat thanked Italian Premier Entrico Letta and said his decision would continue to reinforce the good relations between the two countries.
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Meanwhile, a new group of 86 migrants arrived in Malta this morning after being rescued off the coast.