In spite of the imminent danger of losing its registration the AQUARIUS, has brought aboard to safety 47 people. In what was a long and complicated search and rescue operation, and after negotiations with the Libyan coastguard, the Aquarius, early Sunday morning safely brought on board 47 people. These included 17 minors and one pregnant woman. They were saved from a wooden boat and were signalling distress in international waters.
Meanwhile, the Panamanian Martime Authorities have initiated the process to cancel the registration of the NGO vessel Aquarius after the Italian authorities reportedly told the Panamanian authorities that the Captain refused orders when 11 people were rescued from drowning. In comments given to Newsbook.com.mt the Aquarius expressed its concern and surprise that the Panamanian Maritime Authority has initiated the process of cancelling the ship’s registration.
Earlier, Prime Minister and Labour Party leader Joseph Muscat said that the number of immigrant arrivals in Malta are currently at an all time low, and that a policy based on ‘common sense’ and ‘sensibility’ is being adopted on the issue. Malta, he said, needs to save these immigrants out of a sense of duty and humanity without taking on burdens that should be carried by other European States.
In a speech on Independence Day, PN Leader Adrian Delia said that Malta must respect all international obligations to save lives of people in danger of drowning while safeguarding its borders.