The Malta Independent 16 September 2019, Monday

‘It’s an honour to save lives’, Lifeline founder tells court

Tuesday, 2 April 2019, 14:44 Last update: about 7 months ago

Mission Lifeline founder Axel Steier has told a court that it was an honour to save lives as he testified in defence of migrant rescue ship captain Claus Peter Reisch.

The captain of the humanitarian sea rescue vessel had been charged in July with having steered the ship into Maltese territorial waters without the necessary registration and licences.

Steier explained in great detail how the MV Lifeline had been bought from the NGO Sea Watch in 2017 and how it complied with the formalities of ownership, radio and licencing requirements.


During his cross-examination, Steier was asked about how the vessel came to be registered as a pleasure craft. He replied that this was correct, as their work took place during their free time and without any commercial activity. He explained that it was an honour for them to save the lives of drowning people.

Steier told the court how the vessel had been bought already registered to a flag state and explained how the transfer of ownership was made after the NGO bought it.

He exhibited the ship’s new registration certificate, which was issued after his arraignment. This certificate, which had been issued by the Dutch authorities did not indicate the flag state of the MV Lifeline.


The case was put off for a final decision on 14 May.

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