Malta struggles with migrants

Monday, 9 July 2007

Maltese launch
A Maltese launch: The country's resources are fully stretched

Patrol vessel P-61 cuts through the waves off the Maltese coast, while overhead a helicopter from the German federal police flies past.

But this is not a real border patrol of Malta's territorial waters: instead, it is a show of political support for the tiny island state.

The number of African migrants arriving in Malta has more than tripled: from 502 in 2003, to 1,780 last year.

Most of them are there by mistake. They wanted to get to Italy but were blown off course or were rescued at sea. They do not want to be in Malta and Malta does not particularly want them.