Tag Archives: Lifeline

Migrant vessel captain escapes imprisonment

The captain of a illegal migrants rescue ship received fine of €10,000  by a Maltese court, after being found guilty of intruding into national waters almost one year ago without respecting procedures for crossing state borders.

In issuing the fine, the court recommended that the funds be  used for charitable migrants causes.

The court is concerned by the level of rhetoric and racism surrounding this case and migration in Malta,” Joseph Mifsud ,the Magistrate, said in his ruling.

The magistrate also underlined they will not impose 12 month prison sentence, foreseen for this kind of illegal activities,  because the court “immediately understood the circumstances of the case”.

ClausPeter Reisch 57, born in Munich Germany, as captain of the vessel Lifeline,  was charged with entering Maltese territorial waters illegally and without proper registration, and a licence.

The MV Lifeline vessel was impounded by transport authorities of Malta in June 2018 after disembarking 234 illegal migrants it had according to their own words “rescued off Libya coasts“. Maltese politicians repeatedly accuse the NGOs of aiding people smugglers, contributing to existence of criminal networks.

The skipper, Mr.Reisch, as subsequently charged with operating a ship that was not registered for rescue operations.

Mr.Reisch gave an explanation to the court that his ship was logged in the Netherlands, but Magistrate Joseph Mifsud said documents supplied by the Dutch Registry clarified they did not recognize the vessel as registered under their flag.

The captain was granted bail on a personal guarantee of €10,000 euros and had to deposit his passport in court. Mr.Reisch was facing a maximum jail term of one year and an €11,600 fine, or a combination of both.

The ship was removed from the custody of the court, but it is unclear what further procedures would be applied.

The court case, and fine do not hinder in any way the activities of the NGO, which is determined to continue, and recruits people to fulfill the mission of transporting illegal migrants from Libyan costs to Europe: “Join our crew too! Apply for one of our rescue missions! “, says the ad of the Lifeline.

 

 

 

 

Lifeline vessel docks in Malta

A NGO vessel Lifeline with 233 illegal migrants from Libyan coasts on board stranded in the Mediterranean since Friday, June 22 will finally dock in Malta, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said. The vessel was rejected by Italy, under policies of fighting illegal migration and human trafficking  conducted by Interior minister Matteo Salvini.

Conte said he had reached an agreement to allow the Lifeline to dock after telephone talks with Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.
In a statement, Conte said that Italy would host some of the migrants and called on other countries to “do the same.”
Italy, Malta, France and Portugal have already confirmed their participation, according to a spokesman for the Maltese government. The spokesman added that Spain and the Netherlands were evaluating the situation and that Germany could yet participate.

Lifeline crew accused of piracy and human trafficking

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini warns about the arrest of the crew, and NGO vessel Lifeline transporting over two hundred illegal migrants from Libyan coasts to Italy, accusing them of piracy.

Formally Salvini is difficult to reproach. Acting within the international regulations,  Salvini orders stay in line with the UN frame document – the Law of Sea 1982, indicating that a  sovereign state is in its right to to establish and practise legislation over its aquatorium, similar way as over its territorium. The Law gives unequivocal powers to a state to fight illegal migration, and repel any vessel, suspected in migrant trafficking.

On contrary the Lifeline vessel has hardly any legitimacy after Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli accused it of “operating in Libyan waters outside all rules, outside international law” amid confusion over where the ship was de jure  registered.

This week the Netherlands denied reports that the Lifeline and another NGO-run migrant-rescue ship, the Seefuchs, are sailing under Dutch flags. “The Seefuchs and Lifeline are not sailing under Dutch flag as per UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) flag state responsibility,” the Netherlands representation at the EU said via Twitter.

In response Mission Lifeline confirmed in a tweet that its ship has been registered in the Netherlands since September 2017, attaching a photograph of the registration document to show it. It also said the rescue operation took place in international waters.

Amid clarifications Salvini informed that for “the safety of the crew and passengers Italy had asked Malta to open its ports for Lifeline vessel.

It is clear that the ship will then have to be impounded and the crew members arrested. No more trafficking by sea,” Salvini underlined.

Valletta accused the Lifeline crew of ignoring Italian instructions, and denied any responsibility for the mission, but made a gesture of goodwill, offering humanitarian supplies to illegal migrants.