Updated: Lifeline: 25,000 Dutch boats may have same problem; seriously considering appeal

During his address to the press, the Lifeline Captain Claus-Peter Reisch held up his own Dutch registration for the vessel.

He explained that the vessel was registered in Amsterdam but now the Dutch authorities denied this, ‘This is in my opinion, impossible.’

He concluded by calling on around 25,000 other applicants for boat registration in Holland to check their registrations, saying they might be having the same problems as the MV Lifeline.

‘Check your registration, maybe it’s nothing, it’s not of value.’

Claus-Peter Reisch, captain of the humanitarian charity ship MV Lifeline, shows a registration certificate as he speaks outside the Courts of Justice after a court hearing in Valletta, Malta May 14, 2019. REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi

Seriously considering appeal

Lawyers representing Lifeline captain Claus-Peter Reisch have said that they are ‘seriously considering’ appealing the court’s ruling that the Lifeline vessel was not sailing under the correct registration.

Lawyer Cedric Mifsud told reporters outside the law courts in Valletta that Reisch had faced two charges, the first for the proper registration of the vessel and the second for the use of the vessel.

Mifsud explained that the court found his client not guilty on the second charge and this was followed with the dismissal of the request for the vessel to be seized by the Maltese state.

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It was instead the first charge, that of the vessel not sailing under the proper Dutch registration. For this, Claus-Peter Reisch was fined €10,000 which would have to come out of his own pocket.

Mifsud said that they will be ‘seriously considering an appeal’ believing that the procedures on registration had been ‘done properly.’

He added that it had been a ‘surprise’ to them that the Dutch government had said that the registration had not been the proper one. This he states ‘should not be taken as factual truth’ and instead weighed up against, ‘geopolitical considerations.’  This was especially important when taking into account the testimony given by the Dutch government in court, Mifsud said.

The appeal could be sought in the next 8 days, Mifsud added.

Saving lives is not a crime                             

Flanking Reisch’s left, Lawyer Neil Falzon reiterated that they were not happy with the judgment and were seriously considering filing an appeal.

However he welcomed the magistrate’s comments reiterated today that ‘saving lives of migrants out at sea is not a crime.’

He said that the, ‘statement needs to be echoed loudly across the European Union.’

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The migrant rescue NGO Lifeline, has been found guilty and fined for not having the proper registration for their vessel.

The court ruled that the NGO would have to pay a fine of €10,000 which would be distributed to the Maltese charities; Ursoline Sisters, Dar Emmaus, Dar Merħba Bik & Don Bosco Salesians.

The court also explained that the vessel had not been seized because it did not belong to its captain, Claus-Peter Reisch.

Reisch had previously been accused of not properly registering the Lifeline vessel and of disobeying the port authorities.

Lifeline had been allowed to dock in the Maltese Ports on June 27th following the rescue of 234 people at sea and the ad-hoc agreement reached between eight EU Member states to distribute them.