Minister disputes NGO's claims of hunger strike by migrants on Captain Morgan boat

Home Affairs Minister says he is not aware of any hunger strike by migrants hosted on Captain Morgan vessels, despite claims by NGO Alarm Phone

Two groups of migrants are currently being hosted on Captain Morgan boats outside of Maltese territorial waters
Two groups of migrants are currently being hosted on Captain Morgan boats outside of Maltese territorial waters

Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri has disputed claims that migrants currently being hosted on Captain Morgan boats are staging a hunger strike.

Last Tuesday, NGO Alarm Phone said on Twitter that some of the migrants detained one of the two tourist vessels, outside Maltese territorial waters, had gone on a hunger strike.

The NGO claimed that other persons aboard the boat had attempted to take their own lives.

Alarm Phone made the hunger strike claims on Twitter last week
Alarm Phone made the hunger strike claims on Twitter last week

But Camilleri, who was answering a PQ from PN MP Beppe Fenech Adami, said in Parliament on Monday that he was not aware that any migrants were on a hunger strike.

"At the moment this reply is being drawn up, I am not informed that there are migrants on hunger strike," the minister said.

READ ALSO | From tourist ferries to water prisons: AFM keeps press away from Captain Morgan boats

The two groups of migrants currently on Captain Morgan vessels were rescued at sea between April 30 and May 7.

On April 30, the Maltese government arranged for the transfer of 57 people rescued the day before by a private fishing vessel to the Europa II, a 34.75-meter tourist ferry boat owned by Captain Morgan Cruises Ltd.

On May 7, an Armed Forces of Malta patrol boat rescued 45 people and coordinated the rescue, by a fishing boat, of 78 people.

While all 18 women and children were reportedly taken ashore, the other 105 people were transferred the same day to the Bahari, a 23.59-meter tourist ferry boat owned by the same company.

That group was subsequently transferred, on May 15, to the Atlantis, a 39.6-meter ferry boat also owned by Captain Morgan Cruises.

Malta is insisting that it will not allow any more migrants into its ports until an agreement is found with the EU for their relocation amongst other member states.

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