Malta customs seize 23 powerboats destined for Libya’s migrant smugglers

The Customs Department has seized 23 powerboats on their way to Libya over suspicion they were going to be used by people smugglers

23 containers containing a powerboat each were stopped by customs at Malta Freeport (Photo: Customs Department)
23 containers containing a powerboat each were stopped by customs at Malta Freeport (Photo: Customs Department)

Powerboats destined for Libya have been stopped by the Customs Department at Malta Freeport over suspicion they were going to be used to ferry migrants.

The department said that over the past months and weeks, 23 containers, loaded with a powerboat each, were intercepted by its Strategic Trade and Sanctions Monitoring Unit.

The boats were destined for Libya (Photo: Customs Department)
The boats were destined for Libya (Photo: Customs Department)
The boats were intercepted in Malta as part of UN sanctions monitoring operations (Photo: Customs Department)
The boats were intercepted in Malta as part of UN sanctions monitoring operations (Photo: Customs Department)

The boats were withheld after discussions with the Sanctions Monitoring Board that is tasked with ensuring Maltese entities observe UN sanctions. Photos of the boats disseminated by the Customs Department suggest that they are used boats.

“The movement of these powerboats was considered restricted as contents within were maritime equipment suspected to potentially facilitate illegal migration,” the department said.

It added that the boats were prevented from proceeding to their intended destination on the provisions a legal notice enacted this year introducing measures to combat smuggling activities in the central Mediterranean.

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