Updated at 6.50pm

The Armed Forces of Malta was called out twice on Monday, rescuing a total of 180 migrants from two separate boats.

A patrol boat rescued 28 migrants from a dinghy some 71 miles south-west of Malta before saving another 152 people from a wooden boat south of the island.

The AFM vessel landed at Hay Wharf later on Monday afternoon. 

In a statement, Malta's bishops thanked the AFM for having carried out the rescues and urged other European countries to foster a sense of solidarity and give those adrift a safe place to stay. 

These are the AFM's second and third rescue in less than 24 hours. It rescued 69 migrants from a wooden boat in distress some 117 nautical miles south west of Malta on Sunday, bringing them into Haywharf just after 7pm.

Earlier on Monday, an NGO raised the alarm bells as imminent rough weather is expected to hit migrants and crew stuck for days in a watery limbo between Libya and Malta.

Two rescue vessels run by German NGOs remain stranded at sea and "held hostage by EU states" as they carry 49 rescued people and several crew members into the new year amid rough sea warnings.

The AFM vessel docked at Hay Wharf late on Monday afternoon. Photo: Chris Sant FournierThe AFM vessel docked at Hay Wharf late on Monday afternoon. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

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