The tanker El Hiblu 1 rescued about 100 migrants on February 27, when three amongst them began to riot and threaten violence when they realized that they were being returned to Libya. The thee teenage migrants have been charged in a court in Malta after hijacking the commercial oil tanker that had rescued them.
Specifically, the three suspects were pleaded not guilty on February 30. One was identified as Abdalla Bari, a 19-year-old from Guinea. A 15-year-old from Guinea and a 16-year-old from Ivory Coast could not be named because they were minors.
When the riot began, the Armed Forces of Malta were communicating with the Captain of the tanker, while it was sailing 30 nautical miles away towards Malta.
Moreover, the captain reported that he had no control of the vessel and that his crew was threatened and then forced to sail to Malta.
Nader el-Hiblu, the Libyan captain of the El Hiblu 1, reported
They attacked the cockpit, heavily beating on the doors and the windows and they threatened to smash the boat. They went nuts and they were screaming and shouting: ‘Go back! Go back! Go back!’
The AFM Patrol Vessel P21 halted the tanker from entering the Maltese territorial waters.
Following, a Special Operations team was dispatched to board and secure the vessel and hand over control of the ship back to the master. The team was backed up by AFM Patrol Vessel P51, two Fast Interceptor Craft, and one the AFM’s 139 helicopters.
In the meantime, many aid groups highlight that migrants are beaten, raped and tortured on a regular basis in Libyan detention camps.
The three migrants were denied bail.
Concluding, the Times of Malta reported that the captain faces charges based on human smuggling, according to police sources.