European Court of Human Rights turns down request for immigrants on board Maersk tanker to be brought into Malta

Immigrants who opened a case against Malta to enter our country after they were rescued by a tanker three weeks ago in Libyan territorial waters will not be allowed to enter the island. This ruling came after the European Court of Human Rights turned down the request of these immigrants and said that Malta’s decision does not place their lives at risk of inhumane treatment and therefore the safety of these people is not under threat.

Two immigrants who were rescued by the tanker Maersk Etienne at the beginning of this month, opened a case at the European Court of Human Rights to order Maltese authorities to let them come on land. A Maltese layer who appeared for the immigrants in the case said that the decision by Malta not to allow them to enter was putting their safety at risk. However, the European Court turned down their request.

According to reports, this tanker had rescued a group of 27 immigrants on 4 August just off the Libyan coast. Information obtained by Television Malta shows that the immigrants were not in Malta’s Search & Rescue zone. Apart from this, the ship’s captain still decided to sail close to Malta’s territorial waters and as a result he has been anchored outside the territory for the last 22 days.

Throughout this period, Maltese authorities have always insisted with this tanker that the case does not fall under Malta’a responsibility. Television Malta is informed that the Maltese Government answered through its State Attorney and its response reiterates the point that Malta is not responsible for bringing these immigrants on land, while the Maltese authorities at no point gave instructions for the tanker to bring the immigrants into Malta.

This group of immigrants were among the thousands of people who over the last few weeks have tried to cross the Mediterranean sea from Libyan and Tunisian shores. Statistics by the European Commission show that between 17 July – 16 August, around 4000 immigrants arrived in Italy and in Malta around 200 immigrants arrived over the same period, while thousands of others were rescued from Libya’s S & R zone.

Almost 100 immigrants rescued just off Greek island of Halki

In another development, at least 96 immigrants were rescued just off the Greek island of Halki – with many of them jumping off the boat which was sinking. Coastguard officials said that this was one of the largest rescue operations in the country over the last few months. Various military, commercial and lifeguard boats as well as helicopters were used in the operations which started last night, 21 miles west of the island, located near Turkey. Officials described how as soon as the first rescue boat arrived, a number of people were already in the water – many of them without a life jacket –  including children. The rescued immigrants were taken to the island of Rhodes. Among them were immigrants from Syria, Iraq and Somalia. .