Malta is not allowed to refuel the vessel Ocean Viking from the aid organizations SOS Méditerranée and Médecins Sans Frontières.

A spokeswoman for SOS Méditerranée says that it was agreed with the Maltese authorities that the ship could refuel on Wednesday evening at a bunker boat in the territorial waters of Malta. At the last minute, Malta announced via the radio that it would not give its consent. The organizations are now looking for a different solution.

The ship, sailing under the Norwegian flag, left the port of Marseille on Sunday and is on its way to the Libyan coast to rescue migrants at sea. It can accommodate around two hundred people and is the largest rescue vessel in the Mediterranean.

Many countries refuse to allow ships with migrants and refugees on board to dock in their ports. The rescue vessel Aquarius, which has been jointly operated by both organizations since 2016, was forced to cease its activities in Italy in 2018 following heavy pressure from Italy.

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