rss icon Subscribe
desktop mobile

German NGO Calls on Malta to Take in Migrants

AdobeStock / © Renaschild

A German non-governmental organisation filed on Friday a court request in Malta calling on the government there to accept 13 Tunisian migrants who it said had been saved from a sinking boat in Malta's search and rescue zone.

The NGO Sea Eye, which operates the rescue ship Alan Kurdi, called on Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to respect international law and order the immediate disembarkation of the migrants.

It was not immediately clear when Malta would reply to the court filing.

Sea Eye said the migrants were rescued by the Alan Kurdi on Aug. 31 from a boat which was fast taking in water.

"There were 13 men on board and they were in a critical condition because the boat was sinking with the potential danger that they drown. No one knew whether the men could swim and there were no life vests on board, so a decision was taken to immediately rescue the men and transfer them onto the boats," Sea-Eye said in its written deposition.

It said the Maltese authorities had told them they did not consider it to be a rescue operation, but rather the transfer of individuals from one boat to another.

The Maltese authorities ordered the Alan Kurdi not to take anyone on board, but the rescue operation had already taken place when the demand arrived. Failing to rescue them could have cost the migrants their lives, Sea-Eye said.

The NGO said the Maltese authorities had accused the Alan Kurdi of taking the unilateral decision to intercept a boat that was sailing towards its planned destination -- the Italian island of Lampedusa.

They therefore refused to assist and told the Alan Kurdi to establish contact with its flagged state -- Germany.

Sea-Eye insisted it had followed the established conventions which define a rescue as "an operation to retrieve persons in distress, provide for their initial medical or other needs and deliver them to a place of safety".

Sea-Eye said the situation on board the Alan Kurdi was quickly deteriorating. The ship remains in a holding position between the Italian island of Lampedusa and Malta, with Italy also having refused it entry.

Reporting by Christopher Scicluna

Sep 6, 2019

 

Legal

Anatomy of a Marine Casualty Investigation

MV Argo Merchant was a Liberian-flagged oil tanker that ran aground and sank southeast of Nantucket Island, Mass., on Dec. 15, 1976, causing one of the largest marine oil spills in history. U.S. Coast Guard Archives

Blank Rome’s maritime attorneys have represented clients in some of the largest maritime

The Federal Government’s 2020 Inland Impact

© William J. Chizek / Adobe Stock

It is often difficult to push through the federal government morass to focus on the issues that

US Warship Seizes Suspected Iranian Weapons

The guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60) boarded a stateless dhow in the Arabian Sea and interdicted an illicit shipment of advanced weapons and weapon components intended for the Houthis in Yemen, February 9, 2020. (U.S. Navy photo by Michael H. Lehman)

A U.S. Navy warship seized weapons believed to be of Iranian “design and manufacture

Ports

LNG Bunkering Operations Triple in Spain in 2019

© evening_tao / Adobe Stock

Ship operators carried out 195 liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunkering operations at Spanish ports

WACT to commence Phase 2 Upgrade

Image: APM Terminals

The West Africa Container Terminal (WACT) is quickly earning a reputation as the gateway to

NWSA January Container Volumes Drop

Photo: NWSA

The Northwest Seaport Alliance’s total container volume for January 2020 was 263,816 twenty-foot

Maritime Apps