The government pays for food and other supplies required by the asylum seekers detained on vessels chartered from Captain Morgan, in addition to the cost of chartering the vessels themselves, Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri confirmed.
In reply to a series of parliamentary questions by PN MP Mario Galea, Camilleri said that the company remained responsible for fuel and crew.
Captain Morgan, owned by the Zammit Tabona family, was selected by direct order, and it presently leases three ships to the government. A parliamentary question made when the government was only chartering one ship confirmed that the lease cost the government €3,000 per day; it is believed that the other vessels are chartered at similar rates.
The controversial practice of detaining asylum seekers rescued in Malta’s search-and-rescue area at sea began last month.
It has earned the condemnation of the UN High Commission for Refugees and the International Organisation for Migration, and a number of Maltese NGOs have joined forces to appeal for the detainees to be brought ashore.