Captain Morgan's Atlantis replaces Bahari in housing migrants outside territorial waters

The Captain Morgan ship Atlantis has replaced the Bahari in housing migrants being kept offshore with sources indicating it is better equipped to accommodate people

Captain Morgan's Atlantis
Captain Morgan's Atlantis

Captain Morgan’s Atlantis has replaced the Bahari in holding migrants being kept offshore just outside territorial waters.

Some 160 migrants are being kept 13 nautical miles off Malta’s shore as government insists the country's ports are shut because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Industry sources told MaltaToday the Atlantis is better equipped to house migrants, due to its larger size and onboard resources. However, it could also be an indication of more migrant rescues that could be happening in the coming weeks, necessitating more offshore space to house people.

On 1 May, government had announced that a group of 56 migrants rescued in Malta’s Search and Rescue Zone would be accommodated indefinitely on a Captain Morgan tourist boat – Europa II.

On 7 May, a second boat operated by Captain Morgan, the Bahari, was dispatched to house a further 105 migrants rescued by the AFM.

Malta and Italy have both closed their ports to migrants as a result of the COVID-19 emergency. Since the beginning of the year, both countries saw a 400% increase in migrant arrivals from Libya. Malta is insisting the migrants will be kept on the ships until an effective EU relocation mechanism is in place.

READ ALSO: Malta rescues 123 migrants, to be transferred to second Captain Morgan vessel

The ships are costing the government €3,000 each per day.

Ship tracking website Vessel Finder locates the Atlantis close to the Europa II, anchored just outside territorial waters on Hurd's Bank.

The Bahari was last located entering Marsamxett Harbour.

Government’s actions have received backlash from international institutions, with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights calling on Malta to “urgently disembark” the migrants.

The European Commission has also asked Malta to give the details of the migrants held aboard the two ships.

It is understood that the European Commission has asked for the names, sex, date of birth and country of origin of the offshore migrants. The request for details also includes what languages the migrants speak and if they have any relatives in Europe.

More in National