Eight European countries agree to take the 49 migrants at sea

Eight European countries agree to take the 49 migrants at sea

Eight European countries agree to take the 49 migrants at sea

The two ships were stranded at sea for awhile after Italy, Malta and all other European Union countries refused to offer them a port of safety, said Reuters.

The 49 migrants, including a baby and several children, were rescued while attempting the unsafe Mediterranean crossing from North Africa to Europe.

Malta last week allowed the boats to shelter near its coasts from the bad weather but would not let them disembark the migrants.

A migrant, part of a group of 49, reacts towards the media as he and others disembark from one of Malta's AFM Protector-class coastal patrol boats.

The crew on the migrant rescue vessel had said the situation on the ship was "dire" after more than two weeks of those rescued stranded at sea.

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Prime Minister Joseph Muscat made the announcement this morning, listing the countries that will be taking in the migrants: Germany, France, Portugal, Ireland, Romania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Italy.

Another 78 will be allowed to stay in Malta, while 44 Bangladeshi migrants will be repatriated.

Alter said eight countries have now indicated their willingness to take in the migrants but talks are ongoing with more.

"The risky, unseemly spectacle of politicians bickering whilst women, men and children are stranded in a sea of cruel indifference, must not be repeated", she said.

Both Italy and Malta refuse to allow private rescue vessels to dock at their ports.

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In the meantime, those aboard the Sea Watch and Sea Eye - who include a baby and several children - were celebrating the end of 19 days at sea.

The disembarkation marks the end of an nearly three-week ordeal, which saw European member states refuse the disembarkation of the rescued people until a relocation agreement was reached.

Following Wednesday's deal, Italy's far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini accused the European Commission of "facilitating the work of smugglers and NGOs".

"Whether it's eight or 88, I'm not authorizing anyone to enter Italy", Salvini told reporters in Poland, during a visit to his allies in the right-wing populist government there.

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