Tag Archives: piracy

Sea-Watch blames EU for migrant piracy

Malta informed its navy has seized control of a tanker ship hijacked by migrants in the Mediterranean, according to a government statement. (Image above: illustration).

The Captain repeatedly stated that he was not in control of the vessel and that he and his crew were being forced and threatened by a number of migrants to proceed to Malta. AFM Patrol Vessel P21 stopped the tanker from entering the Maltese territorial waters,”  the  government statement said.

Maltese maritime  authorities established contact with the vessel’s captain when the tanker was about 30 nautical miles (55 km) off the coast.

Italy‘s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, , said that relevant authorities would not have allowed “criminals” who had committed an act of piracy to enter its ports.

Regardless an act of piracy the Sea Watch, NGO which carries out search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean, criticized Salvini‘s comments, blaming Europe for despair, pushing Africans to criminal path.

We must look to these 108 people with an eye of humanity and understand that any actions taken yesterday were in self-defense against the deadly consequences forced upon them by Europe’s inhumane border policy,” says Johannes Bayer, Chairman of Sea-Watch.

Several police vans were lined up in the port to take custody of the migrants for investigation, and five migrants were removed from the ship in handcuffs.

Malta officials report 100 illegal migrants arrived on board of a hijacked vessel  — 38 men, 15 women and 47 claiming to be minors. In absence of documents the real age of the “minors” is impossible to establish in ordinary legal procedures, the status of a minor automatically foresees a set of advantages, and makes it much easier for migrants to obtain asylum status.

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.