Humanitarian crisis aboard the MT Salamis
Newsblog of the events taking place aboard the MT Salamis, a tanker which on Sunday evening rescued 102 migrants on orders of the Italian rescue coordination centre, now being refused entry into Malta after ignoring orders to return to the Libyan port of Khoms.
- 7:37pm ECRE calls for the safe disembarkation of persons on board MV Salamis in Malta
(Brussels, 6 August 2013) In response to the evolving situation of 102 persons rescued at sea by the ship MV Salamis who are currently stranded off the coast of Malta, ECRE urges the Maltese authorities to comply with their international human rights obligations and fulfil their duty by allowing for immediate and safe disembarkation of these persons. The priority now is to ensure that these persons are allowed to disembark in Malta and are provided with immediate assistance and support. Under no circumstances should these persons be returned to Libya. ECRE stands firm with our members in Malta, JRS Malta and Aditus in holding that the preservation of the lives of the persons on board the MV Salamis must be the top priority in any action taken.
- TUESDAY 8 August • PRESS CONFERENCE from home affairs minister Manuel Mallia
17:19 Manuel Mallia says this is not a case of "illegal immigration but search and rescue", insisting that the Salamis had to immediately take the rescued migrants to the nearest port, which was Libya. "The shipmaster ignored guidance from RCC because of commercial interests. This is a matter of principle for us, because if we allow this to take place it will create a dangerous precedent for us. There is no emergency: these people were rescued, they are in a good state, and they were waving at the AFM helicopter as it descended."
17:17 "When I informed Ms Malmström of certain facts, it seems she was not aware of the entire picture" - Mallia says of his conversation with the EU Commissioner earlier today, after having issued her statement urging Malta to recieve the asylum seekers.
17:12 "There is no doubt that Malta is legally correct... we have documented evidence from the maritime rescue coordination centre of Rome [showing that the Salamis ignored guidance to head back to Libya]" - Manuel Mallia. The minister has also held discussions this afternoon with Commissioner Malmström. "This shipmaster has breached international law and breached directions from the Rome RCC."
17:11 Life jackets, water and food supplies have been delivered to the migrants aboard the Salamis.
17:09 The AFM's crewmen from the P 52 patrol boat, which is monitoring the movements of the tanker, boarded the ship to inspect the condition of a pregnant woman.
17:07 At 4pm on Monday 5 August, the Salamis captain said he would hold the Maltese RCC responsible for the consequences that would follow aboard the tanker as the health situation of the migrants deteriorated. The proprietors of the Salamis wrote to the Maltese government, and the Italian RCC as well as European Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, with their version of the story.
17:03 Captain Leopoldo Manna is alleged to have decided to forge ahead on the Salamis's roue to Malta, to arrive at 7am on Tuesday morning. He was informed on Tuesday, 2am that he would not be granted access to Maltese territorial waters.
- 16:59 The shipmaster of the Salamis is alleged to have decided to forge ahead in its intended route to Malta, where it was to deliver a gasoil shipment, against the orders of the Malta RCC.
- 16:55 Minister Manuel Mallia is recounting the events that unfolded since the rescue of the 102 migrants, explaining that the Italian RCC instructed the MT Salamis to head back to Libya as the nearest and safest port of call to terminate the rescue, and that the Malta RCC was in contact with the Salamis, as well as with the Italian RCC which confirmed that it had instructed the tanker to head back to Libya. "The captain said he would consult with the proprietors of the ship. While still at 50 nautical miles away from Libya, at 10pm the Armed Forces of Malta explained to the Salamis's shipping agent that the ship was obliged to return the migrants to Libya. The agent passed on these instructions to the shipmaster via email."
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