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Malta forces seize ship ‘hijacked’ by migrants

Malta forces seize ship ‘hijacked’ by migrants
March 28
12:23 2019

Valetta (Malta), March 28: The Armed Forces of Malta on Thursday took control of a merchant ship overpowered a day earlier by migrants rescued by the vessel who were opposing being returned to Libya, a military spokesperson said.

The ship, El Hiblu I, arrived at Boiler Wharf in Malta early Thursday morning, Efe news quoted Malta Today as saying.

It had rescued 108 people – including many children and women – who were travelling on a boat in poor conditions near the coast of Libya.

Soon after the rescue, the captain communicated that he was no longer in control of the ship and the migrants were forcing him and his crew to proceed to Malta.

Reports say the migrants hijacked the ship after learning they were being taken back to Libya.

The ship, which had a Turkish crew and Palau flag, headed towards Malta during the night before Maltese troops boarded and directed it towards the island.

It is not known how many migrants were involved, although it is believed to be a small group, according to media reports.

This was the first reported hijacking of a ship by migrants to avoid being returned to Libya and a probe into the events was expected to start immediately after the ship reached the shore.

IANS

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