Sailors denied bail for territorial breach

Three Turkish sailors, who entered Maltese waters without informing authorities, have been remanded in custody

A group of Turkish sailors who entered Maltese waters after their yacht allegedly broke down have been remanded in custody, after they were arraigned on charges of failing to supply the necessary information to the authorities before entering territorial waters.

Kerim Yesildag, 60, Mutlu Turkay, 33 and Cem Ozturk, 37, appeared before magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech this afternoon.

Inspector Mario Haber charged the trio with failing to inform the authorities that they were entering Maltese waters.

Turkay and Ozturk alone were accused of not having passports and failing to provide the necessary information to the immigration authorities.

Defence lawyer Benjamin Valenzia explained that the sailors' yacht, the US-flagged Hang-Loose, had developed mechanical trouble and they had not informed Maltese authorities that they were entering territorial waters.

A guilty plea was filed, but the court said it could not accept it.

"This not a court where people admit to crimes just to leave Malta... I cannot tarnish a person's criminal record for nothing."

The court, instead, sent the case to be assigned for hearing according to law.

The defence requested bail, which Inspector Haber objected to as the men had no fixed address in Malta.

"They live on the yacht,” he explained.

The court, saying it did not want to impose a further burden of keeping the yacht under 24-hour surveillance on the police, denied the men bail.

In view of the fact that the accused could offer no guarantee that they would not abscond if granted bail, the men were remanded in custody.

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