Around 50 migrants are in Malta’s territorial waters within sight of our coast. They have been sleeping on the metal floor of sea-going stables right next to the dung of animals that have been delivered to Africa and that has been fermenting and rotting for days.

These pictures taken by the crew of the MV Talia show the miserable conditions these migrants are being held in within swimming distance of our coastline. They’re held there on orders of the Maltese authorities that diverted the ship to pick them up when they were in distress at sea.

What is the purpose of keeping them out there?

No one dares refer to Covid-19 any more. Nothing to do with that. Instead the official excuse is that European countries must first line up with pledges to transfer the new arrivals before Malta allows their rescue operation to be completed.

In the midst of the political bickering and the diplomatic wrangling, 50 men are trapped in filth, heat, rough seas and sickness. That’s instead of allowing them to come ashore and wait here for their relocation. Anything is better than what they’re in now.