Rome (AFP)

A European agreement was found to disembark and distribute in six countries of the European Union the 356 migrants aboard the ship Ocean Viking, announced Friday the Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

"All migrants aboard" the humanitarian boat of the NGOs SOS Mediterranean and Médecins sans Frontière will be transferred to Maltese military boats, outside the territorial waters of this country, and then brought to shore.

They will be divided between "France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal and Romania," said Muscat on his Twitter account, noting that "nobody will stay in Malta."

From Paris, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, announced that France will welcome 150 of the 356 migrants, stressing that "France maintains its solidarity", three days after the landing in Italy of the ship espanol Open Arms which France will collect 40 migrants.

The six-country agreement came "following discussions with the European Commission and some member states, namely France and Germany," said the head of the Maltese government.

"This is good news," said Ocean Viking Rescue Coordinator Nicholas Romaniuk, an AFP journalist who has been on board since the beginning of the mission.

"We are now waiting for an official communication from the Maltese authorities" on the landing procedures, he added.

The news was not immediately announced to those concerned, as MSF prefers to finish a distribution of food before sharing much awaited information on board.

© 2019 AFP