Critical situation on MV Marina carrying 77 migrants – Ship captain

Reuters

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The master of the vessel MV Marina Tuesday morning sent an urgent email to RCC Malta describing as critical the situation on board his ship which very early Sunday morning had been asked to take on board 77 migrants who were adrift at sea. The captain said that tension was mounting as migrants were getting aggressive towards each other, unsheathing knives and not obeying crew. Moreover, they had run out of water.

The master of the ship said that they do not have enough food to get them past the next 24 hours and 6 of the migrants require urgent medical attention.  The master of the ship added that the ship does not have sufficient personal protective equipment for the migrants. There are only 13 crew members who are not experienced in search and rescue and 77 migrants. 

The ship is asking the Maltese authorities for permission to enter Malta as it was scheduled to do before it was requested to take the migrants on board.

RCC Malta requested MV Marina to board migrants

The drama on board the ship which is now in the middle of a dispute between the Maltese and Italian authorities started Sunday at 0250h. The vessel received a message from Malta RCC via satellite phone to proceed to a given position and commence a search and rescue operation of a wooden boat carrying migrants who were in distress.

At that point in time, the MV Marina was en route from Sfax to Malta Freeport Terminal in Marsaxlokk.  She was scheduled to discharge 265  containers in Malta and load 253 containers to be taken to Sousse.

Dr Ann Fenech, the lawyer representing the company told Newsbook.com.mt that MV Marina immediately obeyed the instructions received from Malta RCC and located the boat. There were 77 persons on board,  74 men and 3 women, who were in danger of losing their lives.  All of them were embarked on board the Marina as instructed by Malta RCC.

The Master of the Marina asked Malta RCC  for instructions on the disembarkation of the migrants and has been requesting instructions on the disembarkation of the migrants from Malta RCC since then. No instructions have been forthcoming.

Malta or Lampedusa?

Newsbook.com.mt is informed that the vessel drifted towards Lampedusa and asked the  Port of Lampedusa for permission to disembark the migrants.  The Port of Lampedusa has refused the vessel entry and disembarkation. The port authorities are saying that since the instructions were given by the Malta RCC the same RCC is responsible.

Dr Anne Fenech told Newsbook.com.mt that she has personally contacted the Commander of the Armed Forces Commander Brigadier Jeffrey Curmi.  She added that the reply she got from the legal counsel of AFM  seems to imply that the Malta RCC is making representation to Lampedusa however also suggests that owners do the same. 

The owners are requesting RCC Malta to allow the vessel to continue its journey to Malta where it can disembark the migrants and continue with its loading and discharging of containers.