A group of 227 immigrants have arrived in Birzebbugia on a large boat packed to the brim.

The migrants are being brought ashore at Wied Il-Buni where there is a large presence of policemen and soldiers. A number of migrants from the nearby open centre also went down to the area to await the boat.

Informed sources said the group, thought to be made up mostly of Somalis, includes 22 women and two infants.

The AFM said the boat was first reported by its observation and radar post at Delimara and the boat was followed on the Coastal Vessel Traffic Service CCTV.

The Maritime Squadron's P-24 Swift-class patrol vessel and the Melita-2 rescue-launch were immediately dispatched to the area to further investigate and a helicopter was scrambled.

It was noted that the illegal immigrants lacked life-jackets whilst their overall state of health was generally good.

It is the second big group to arrive in Malta this month, after 262 arrived on Feb 1.

Two groups of some 150 arrived in December and January.

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