The Malta Independent 19 December 2018, Wednesday

Magistrate carries out on-site inspection of Lifeline vessel

Tuesday, 10 July 2018, 12:05 Last update: about 6 months ago

Magistrate Joe Mifsud this morning carried out an on-site inspection of the Lifeline vessel, as part of the case against ship captain Claus-Peter Reisch.

Court experts have also inspected the vessel’s computers. 

Reisch is facing charges in a Maltese court over the ship's irregular registration. The Lifeline was accused of acting as a rescue vessel when it is registered as a pleasure craft in the Netherlands. It was stranded for six days off Malta’s coast as Malta and Italy were involved in a diplomatic tussle which was resolved when Prime Minister Joseph Muscat brokered a deal which will see nine nations sharing the migrants. Last week, the first 52 of the 234 migrants left for France.

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As part of the investigation, Magistrate Mifsud called for an on-site inspection of the vessel and appointed experts to survey the ship and its computers. The defence objected, insisting this had nothing to do with the charges but Magistrate Mifsud insisted the court had discretion on the matter.

Court experts Pierre Zammit Endrich and Martin Bajada inspected the contents of the vessel and its computers.

The captain was accused of precipitating the Lifeline crisis when he ignored orders from the Rome rescue coordination centre last month. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said Reisch was largely responsible for the situation.

During the court case, it was confirmed that the ship was only registered as a pleasure yacht with a Dutch yacht club.   

Photos Alenka Falzon

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