[WATCH] Lifeline captain fined €10,000 over irregular ship registration

Maltese court fines migrant rescue vessel captain for irregularity in ship's registration • Defence plans to appeal the ruling, claiming Dutch government's testimony may have been influenced by geo-political pressures

MV Lifeline captain Claus-Peter Reisch
MV Lifeline captain Claus-Peter Reisch
Lifeline captain fined €10,000 over irregular ship registration

The captain of a ship used to rescue stranded immigrants at sea has been fined €10,000 over a registration irregularity.

Claus Peter Reisch, the German captain of the vessel MV Lifeline has described the decision, in which he was also acquitted of the second charge: of operating a commercial vessel without the necessary licence as “scandalous”.

His lawyers said they were studying the decision with a view to filing an appeal. Reisch told reporters outside the court that now every vessel registered under the Dutch flag would have to check whether or not they were in violation of their registration.

Magistrate Joe Mifsud, presiding the case, stressed that the court always held the protection of life in the highest esteem. He also observed that there were attempts to sway public opinion during the case, commenting that “we ended up with a sitting in court and another outside the court in the form of a press conference held by the defence, which has no weight in the deciding of this case.”

The court commented that it was “shocked at the racism, intolerance and animosity” directed towards migrants on the internet, appealing to the Maltese to once again find their traditional values of hospitality.

The court did not uphold the request for the confiscation of the vessel, but the vessel will not be released until any eventual appeal is decided.
Lawyers Cedric Mifsud and Neil Falzon appeared for the captain.

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