The Malta Independent 30 May 2020, Saturday

Migration: Government paying €6,000 per day for two Captain Morgan vessels

Monday, 11 May 2020, 16:23 Last update: about 18 days ago

The government is paying €3,000 per day for each of the two Captain Morgan vessels that have been hired to hold rescued migrants, Parliament was told on Monday.

The information was provided by Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri in reply to a Parliamentary Question by PN MP Jason Azzopardi.

The Europa II and the Bahari are carrying some 160 rescued migrants between them. They were chartered as a temporary measure after Malta closed its ports in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. The vessels are anchored just outside Maltese territorial waters.

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A government spokesperson had told this newsroom that the government had gone for the cheapest option and that no operators were excluded from offering the service.

"The authorities followed a procedure whereby the boat owner offering the cheapest price, in a situation of emergency and immediacy, was selected to provide the service."

The relative costs will be transparently provided in the appropriate fora at the end of this operation, the OPM said.

One of the groups rescued last week was picked up by the AFM patrol boat P52, seen above in a file photo. 


It had been reported in some sections of the press that the government was paying €10,000 per day per vessel.

The government is also insisting that the EU should pay for the chartered vessels. According to reports, this might not be possible since the vessels are outside Maltese waters.

Initially, the government had chartered the Europa II but the second vessel was chartered last week after Malta rescued another 123 migrants. 

One group was recued by an Armed Forces of Malta patrol boat while the other group was rescued by a private vessel at the request of the Maltese authorities.

18 women and children rescued in this week's operation were brought to Malta.

Captain Morgan is part of Fortina Investments, which is owned by the Zammit Tabona family.

On Sunday, one of the directors, Michael Zammit Tabona, resigned from his post of non-resident ambassador to Finland after he posted a Facebook rant in which he compared German Chancellor Angela Merkel to wartime Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

 

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