Another boat-load of illegal immigrants were escorted to Wied il-Buni berth at Birżebbuġa by an Armed Forces of Malta patrol boat yesterday. The boat, carrying 24 men and three women, was intercepted off Għar Ħasan just before 6 p.m.

Meanwhile, a search for another boat in distress reportedly carrying 28 illegal immigrants about 70 miles off Malta over the past two days had so far proved unsuccessful, an AFM spokesman said.

The spokesman said the alert was given when, apparently, someone at the open centre for immigrants in Marsa was contacted by phone from people on the boat claiming they were in distress but giving no location. Efforts by the AFM to return the call were unsuccessful and the Frontex patrol was alerted.

On Wednesday, a German Puma helicopter taking part in the Frontex border patrol mission conducted a search for the boat but the searches had yielded nothing.

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