Pope Francis on January 6, 2019, joined the debate on the fate of 49 migrants aboard two rescue ships searching for a friendly port in the Mediterranean Sea.
His remarks came after praying the noonday Angelus with a crowd of some 60,000 pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square.
“For several days, forty-nine people rescued from the Mediterranean Sea are on board two NGO ships, in search of a safe port where they can disembark,” the Pope said. “A heartfelt appeal goes to European leaders, to show concrete solidarity in dealing with these people.”
As Vatican News reported, two humanitarian ships picked up the migrants as they attempted to cross the Mediterranean to Europe. The rescue boats belong to the German NGOs Sea-Watch and Sea Eye. They are seeking a port in Europe to disembark their 49 passengers.
Malta allowed them to shelter off its coast in bad weather on January 3 but is refusing to allow the ships to dock or the migrants to disembark. No European country has yet given permission for the rescue boats to unload the 49 migrants.