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Youths' catamaran lark lands them in the dock

Two stowaways who attempted to leave Malta by hiding on a catamaran bound for Sicily are to be repatriated to Spain

matthew_agius
Matthew Agius
21 July 2017, 3:12pm
The men are expected to be returned to Spain
The men are expected to be returned to Spain
Two young stowaways who attempted to leave Malta by hiding on a catamaran bound for Sicily are to be repatriated to Spain.

Miguel Alberto Armas Zambrano of Venezuela and Javier Ocana De Lucas from Spain, both 20 years of age, appeared in court this morning, accused of attempting to travel from Malta to Sicily as stowaways on a catamaran.

As they sat in the dock, waiting for their lawyer to arrive, the pair – who both reside in Spain – explained to their translator that it was a crazy act that they had done on the spur of the moment

The Principal Immigration Officer, police inspector Mario Haber, explained how, on Wednesday, the youths had entered a restricted area at the harbour and had climbed aboard a catamaran destined for Sicily, without the knowledge of the captain or crew. The stowaways had been discovered by the crew on the way to Catania and were then brought back to Malta.

The pair, who said that they did not have any money on their person, were charged with secretly boarding a seaborne vessel and entering an enclosed port area other than through the proper entrance, as well as with failing to provide the immigration authorities with the information required at law.

Zambrano and De Lucas pleaded guilty. “I did a foolish thing, I am guilty” De Lucas added.

Inspector Haber said the two had all the requisites to travel in Europe and agreed that they had done something foolish. He did not insist on a custodial sentence, noting that all concerned would be better off if the men were returned to Spain, however also asking the court to provide a deterrent against a repeat performance.

Lawyer Joe Ellis, appointed as legal aid, said the men were young and immature and that their actions had been a “joke gone wrong.” He argued in favour of a conditional discharge, because if they broke the law in Malta again “there would be serious repercussions.”

Magistrate Josette Demicoli found the men guilty and sentenced them to four months in prison, suspended for two years. The men are expected to be returned to Spain.

matthew_agius
Court reporter Matthew Agius is a Legal Procurator and Commissioner for Oaths. Prior to re...