The Malta Independent 18 October 2021, Monday

‘This boat is my life’ – Owner of vessel held in Libya calls on government to intervene

Julian Bonnici Friday, 6 October 2017, 08:30 Last update: about 5 years ago

The owner of a vessel that has been held in Libya for over a week is calling on the government to intervene and save his livelihood.

The vessel has been detained in Benghazi for nine days.

Speaking to The Malta Independent, Albert Satariano, who purchased the vessel eight years ago after retiring, said that he had worked tirelessly at his own physical and personal expense to turn the vessel into a high quality long-line fishing ship. “The boat is my life...I don’t know how to continue living without it.”

The Maltese flagged fishing vessel Salvatur VI, MFA0172VLT, owned by Salvatur VI Fishing Company Limited), with one Italian Captain and six Indonesian crew members on board, is being held by the Libyan Military forces of Benghazi. 

The vessel, which was on its way to Crete, was stopped on 28 September after it wandered into disputed international waters with intent to fish 40 miles off the coast of Libya.

A 2011 document from the European Commission says that Libya’s territorial waters stretches out 12 nautical miles and has an Exclusive Fishing Zone of 62 nm.

The ongoing Libyan civil war has seen the country split into two controlling factions, the UN and Maltese recognised National Transitional Council of Libya which is based in Tripoli, and the military backed government in Tobruk, which rules over Benghazi.

Satariano explained that neither the vessel nor the captain has been charged with any offence, and in fact have avoided any sort of fine. He said the Libyan Military government is merely waiting for the Maltese Government to confirm the identity of the vessel and the crew before their release.

“My lawyer in Libya last night informed me that the Libyan Army is waiting to be contacted by the Maltese and Indonesian Authorities, to be able to release the crew and vessel.”

“The Italian captain was released immediately after the Libyan Army was contacted by the Italian Consulate in Benghazi. It appears that the Captain has so far refused to leave the vessel until this matter is resolved, but it seems that he is now being forced to leave the country,” he told this newspaper. 

“I have been in contact with The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Indonesian Embassy in Rome and informed them fully of the situation. However, I am concerned that the Maltese authorities are not taking urgent action, contrary to what the Italian Government has already done.”

  • don't miss