Migrant rescue ship captain likely to be charged in Malta

Source: Xinhua| 2018-06-28 23:18:44|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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VALLETTA, June 28 (Xinhua) -- The captain of the migrant rescue vessel, the MV Lifeline, is likely to be changed in court in Malta, according to reports.

The charity boat Lifeline docked at Malta on Wednesday evening, almost seven days after it rescued 234 migrants within the Libyan search and rescue area. It had been refused entry into Malta and Italy.

The stranded vessel was allowed into Malta after an agreement was reached on Wednesday between Italy, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Malta for the migrants to be shared among the countries. Norway announced on Thursday that it has decided to take some of the migrants.

The ship's captain, Claus-Peter Reisch, was interrogated by police on Wednesday, and again on Thursday, according to MaltaToday, which also reported that Reisch was likely to be arraigned in court in Malta.

Citing police sources, it said that the captain was likely to be released on police bail before being charged in court over the ship's "irregular" registration.

Over the course of the dispute over the vessel's fate it emerged that the Lifeline was only registered as a pleasure craft, with doubts being cast on whether it was authorized to fly the Dutch Flag. The Netherlands has said that the ship was not registered with it.

Upon the ship's arrival in Malta, the captain was advised that action will be taken against him. Two Maltese lawyers were observed assisting the captain while migrants were being disembarked from the ship.

The arrest comes ahead of a EU Council meeting currently taking place in Brussels during which migration in the Mediterranean is expected to be the main topic of discussion among EU leaders.