Some asylum seekers allegedly hijacked a vessel. Its automatic identification system, or the AIS, was off as it changed its course and headed at full speed for Libya.
The information emerged on Thursday when a court specialist, a shipmaster, read out the conclusions of the criminal proceedings against these three men, who have been facing severe terrorist charges. One hundred eight people had to be rescued by El Hiblu 1 in 2019, acting on the instructions provided by an aircraft that belonged to the European military operation dubbed EUNAVFOR MED. The vessel’s crew members sought to return the rescued people to Libya. However, the members who were on board protested for their return. The crew members finally steered north toward Malta.
Three teenagers were arrested immediately when they arrived in Malta and were detained for about seven months.
The trio is encountering charges of terrorism. If they are found guilty,y they will have to be imprisoned for seven to 30 years.
The ages of the three teenagers were 15, 16, and 19 when they reached the safe port based in Malta. Here they were immediately detained.
The witness further explained that as a shipmaster, he was asked to gather information from the vessel and its equipment. He was required to understand what the ship did.
On Thursday, the court explained that from 22 to 26 March 2019, the ship sailed at about 9.5 knots. From 1418 UTC to 1800 UTC on 26 March, the vessel sailed to the east or the northeast at about 0.97 knots. The specialist added that between 1800 UTC on 26 March and 0514 UTC on 27 March, the vessel sailed toward the north for almost two hours at speed before altering the course and heading for Tripoli. The witness also mentioned that the AIS was non-operational when the vessel headed to Libya’s Tripoli.
References: NewsBook, Independent