Another 27 would-be illegal immigrants landed in Malta on Tuesday afternoon, the third group of fleeing Africans to have reached the Mediterranean island in three weeks, the dpa reported.
Their boat was reported by fishermen and escorted inland by the Maltese armed forces. The migrants, including seven women, said they were from Somalia and claimed to have left Libya five days ago.
In the last few days, scores of migrants have reached the island of Lampedusa, taking advantage of the fine weather and sea conditions in the Mediterranean.
The start of this year's European Union surveillance patrol mission against illegal immigration off the coast of Malta has been postponed at the eleventh hour, according to a report by The Sunday Times of Malta.
Sources close to the mission told the newspaper that some member states, particularly Germany and France, have disagreed on the patrol parameters.
During last year's patrol mission surveying the sea strait between Sicily, Malta and Libya, a specific code was agreed among those taking part.
The planned Frontex mission this year is supposed to be the longest ever on the central Mediterranean route, lasting some 23 weeks and with a budget of more than 8 million euros.