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Germany-flagged rescue vessel "Professor Albrecht Penck" sails off the Maltese coast Germany-flagged rescue vessel "Professor Albrecht Penck" sails off the Maltese coast  (AFP or licensors)

Pope appeals for migrants stranded aboard rescue ships

Pope Francis launched a “heartfelt appeal” to European leaders on Sunday for “concrete solidarity” with 49 migrants stranded aboard rescue ships in the Mediterranean Sea.

By Devin Watkins

Two humanitarian ships picked up the migrants as they attempted to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.

The rescue boats belong to the German NGOs Sea-Watch and Sea Eye. They are seeking a port in Europe to disembark their 49 passengers.

Pope Francis brought the issue to international attention on Sunday, when he urged European leaders to show “concrete solidarity regarding these people.”


Thirty-two migrants were picked up from unseaworthy boats on December 22nd. The other 17 migrants were rescued in recent days.

Malta allowed them to shelter off its coast in bad weather on January 3rd, but is refusing to allow the ships to dock or the migrants to disembark.

No European country has yet given permission for the rescue boats to unload the 49 migrants.

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06 January 2019, 13:14