A Maltese youth has taken to social media with a shocking account of a trawler purposefully upending his small boat during a fishing trip.
The captain of the trawler went so far as to shout: “tort tagħkom!” as the youth was left floundering in the sea as all his belongings sunk to the bottom of the sea.
Aleandro Spiteri Monsigneur, who is the keyboardist of popular pop-rock group Red Electrick, recounted what happened to him earlier today.
After heading out for his first ever recreational fishing trip on his friend Jake’s 16-foot boat in St Paul’s Bay, they headed towards a series of fish farms located around 10km off the coast.
After some time, a trawler approached them and asked them to relocate since they wanted to work nearby, something the pair were happy to do. They moved towards another area where around 25 other small fishing boats had set up.
“From our new spot, we could spot another, bigger trawler heading in our direction from roughly 500m away, but did not think much of this,” Spiteri Monsigneur recounted.
“As he approached, we noticed the trawler was clearly planning to pass by us, but assumed the trawler would, as normally happens, pass round the smaller boats, or signal to us by a horn or a hand wave if he needed us to move, to which, again, we would have showed no objection, obviously.”
“But the trawler didn’t seem to change direction.”
“Realising what was about to happen, it was too late to untie the ropes and move out of the way,” he continued. “The trawler headed straight onto us, colliding with us and causing the boat to capsize and all of our belongings (phones, wallets, keys, camera etc.) to sink.”
It only got worse when the trawler’s captain emerged to shout at them, Spiteri Monsigneur said.
“Throwing us into the sea, the captain’s reaction was far from apologetic: “Tort tagħkom”, he said, “terġgħux tiġu hawn!”, before heading straight on and continuing whatever he was planning to do, as if nothing had happened. The other 25 boats looked at us in dismay, no one knowing what to do.”
Fortunately, fishermen on other nearby boats helped them to safety and one trawler helped them turn the boat right way around. However, Spiteri Monsigneur was left shocked at how careless the trawler had acted, endangering his and his friends’ life for very little reason.
“It later came to my knowledge that fishing within a certain radius of private fish farms is not allowed, but this is a rule which very few Maltese fishermen adhere to due to the severely depleted fish populations, which automatically make fish farm areas a hotspot for fishing due to the high concentrations of nutrients available to external fish,” he said.
“This provides absolutely no justification to run over a small boat with a trawler, but thought it’s worth pointing out.”
Spiteri Monsigneur and his friend weren’t seriously injured, though the boat was left damaged – but the insane incident shows just what kind of violence and life-threatening actions fishermen face by business-minded trawlers.
“We got to know that this is not the first time this has been done by the same group of people,” he continued. “This is not a pity post or anything. I simply hope this sheds light to what goes on in our waters and what independent fisherman suffer at the expense of the bullying and hijacking of major corporations.”
He ended by quoting Jesus Christ.
“Christ could not have been more accurate when he said: ‘To those who have, more will be given. To those who have none, everything will be taken from them’.”
Have you ever experienced anything as dangerous as this at sea?