The Malta Independent 27 November 2021, Saturday

Three teenagers arraigned over hijacked ship

Saturday, 30 March 2019, 10:37 Last update: about 4 years ago

Two teenagers under the age of 18 are among the thee migrants charged with hijacking the commercial tanker which docked in Malta earlier this week.

The accused include 15-year-old boy and a 16 year old boy. Another is 19-years-old. The three were brought into court today to face charges in connection with the seizure of the El Hiblu 1. They are accused of having unlawfully seized control of the ship, through intimidation, threats and force, which under Maltese law is punishable by a prison sentence of between seven and 30 years. They pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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The 19-year-old is Abdalla Bari from Guinea. In the case of the other two, who are minors, the court ordered that their names not be released due to their ages. They are from Guinea and the Ivory Coast.

Bail was requested. Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech denied bail, stating that civilian witnesses still had to testify, and that the five have no means of paying a  bail bond.

In Malta, seizing a ship unlawfully is considered a terrorist act. The underage suspects were entrusted to state care.

Omar Zammit and Christa Armeni prosecuted. Cedric Mifsud, Gianluca Cappitta and Neil Falzon served as counsel for the defence. 

The AFM had boarded the El Hiblu 1 after it tried to enter Maltese waters on Thursday morning.

The ship was then escorted back to Grand Harbour.

100 migrants had been rescued by the ship which was making its way to Libya before it was forced to turn north towards Malta.


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