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Rescued migrants hijack merchant ship off Libya

Rescued migrants hijack merchant ship off Libya

Postby smix » Thu Mar 28, 2019 3:18 am

Rescued migrants hijack merchant ship off Libya
Reuters

URL: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-euro ... SKCN1R81YF
Category: Watercraft
Published: March 27, 2019

Description: ROME (Reuters) - Migrants have hijacked a merchant ship which rescued them off the coast of Libya and it is now heading towards Malta, Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini and Maltese authorities said on Wednesday. The 108 migrants were picked up by the cargo ship Elhiblu 1 and hijacked the vessel when it became clear that it planned to take them back to Libya, according to the website of Italian daily Corriere della Sera and Italian news agencies. “These are not migrants in distress, they are pirates, they will only see Italy through a telescope,” said Salvini, who has cracked down on illegal immigration, including closing Italy’s ports to charity ships, since he took office in June last year. A spokeswoman for Malta’s armed forces confirmed the ship had been hijacked and said Maltese authorities were monitoring its progress and it would not be allowed to dock in Malta. “This is clearly a case of organized crime,” Salvini said on Facebook. “Our ports remain closed.” Salvini, the leader of the right-wing League party, has been at the center of several international stand-offs over his refusal to let humanitarian ships dock in Italy. This month parliament rejected a request by prosecutors to investigate him for kidnapping over a case in August when he blocked an Italian coastguard ship with 150 migrants aboard for almost a week off Sicily before finally letting it dock.



Maltese soldiers seize small tanker hijacked by migrants, vessel docks at Valletta
Reuters

URL: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-euro ... SKCN1R90NW
Category: Watercraft
Published: March 28, 2019

Description: VALLETTA (Reuters) - A small tanker that was hijacked by migrants off Libya docked in Malta’s port of Valletta on Thursday after Maltese special forces took control of the vessel, a Reuters witness said.

Elhiblu.jpg

Cargo ship Elhiblu 1 had picked up 108 migrants stranded at sea, some of whom then hijacked the vessel when it became clear that it planned to take them back to Libya. Maltese police arrested four men and the remainder of the migrants were disembarked and boarded onto buses, the witness said. A Maltese military patrol boat stopped the ship from entering Maltese waters and a special operations team was then dispatched to board and secure the vessel, the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) said in a statement on Thursday. The team was backed by two fast interceptor craft, another patrol boat and a helicopter, the AFM said. “The captain repeatedly stated that he was not in control of the vessel and that he and his crew were being forced and threatened by a number of migrants to proceed to Malta,” it said in the statement. Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini said on Wednesday that Italy would not have opened its ports to “criminals” who had committed an act of piracy.
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