Malta’s armed forces have taken management of a tanker which had been seized by migrants off the coast of Libya on Wednesday.
The tanker, Elhibru 1, is now heading to a Maltese port with the crew and migrants, who can be handed over to police.
Greater than 100 migrants who had been rescued by the ship hijacked it after being advised they’d return to Libya.
That they had ordered the ship’s captain to go north in direction of Europe.
In a press release, the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) stated that they had established communications with the captain of the ship when it was nonetheless continuing in direction of Malta.
The captain stated he was not in command of the vessel and that he and his crew have been being pressured and threatened by quite a lot of migrants to proceed to Malta.
A patrol vessel stopped the tanker from coming into Maltese territorial waters, and a particular operations unit crew was dispatched to board and safe the vessel, the AFM stated in a press release.
Italy’s inside minister, Matteo Salvini, had earlier known as the migrants “pirates” and stated they’d not be allowed to dock in Italy.
He described the act as “the primary piracy on the excessive seas with migrants”, in response to the Related Press information company.
The incident comes because the EU says it’s ending navy patrols within the Mediterranean.
The EU says the choice to droop Operation Sophia in September follows a request by Italy.
The mission was put in place 4 years in the past to discourage folks smugglers and rescue migrants making an attempt to succeed in Europe by boat. Tens of hundreds have been saved.
These days, the mission has largely focused smuggling networks because the variety of folks making the crossing dropped sharply following a controversial deal between the EU and Libya.
However Mr Salvini, the chief of the right-wing League social gathering, has blamed Operation Sophia for persevering with to deliver rescued migrants to Italian shores.
He has been on the centre of quite a lot of worldwide row over his refusal to permit migrant ships dock in Italian ports.
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