Fourteen days. That’s how long over 160 people have been left on a boat outside of Maltese waters. The government is spending an estimated €6,000 a day to turn two Captain Morgan vessels into makeshift sea-based homes, but how much longer can it last?
Questions about the Captian Morgan initiative have been left unanswered by the Office of the Prime Minister and the Home Affairs Ministry. We don’t even know if there’s an AFM or government representative overseeing the mission.
Malta has been using Captain Morgan vessels to house migrants found at sea ever since 1st May. The plan is a temporary measure to ease diplomatic tensions and humanitarian concerns brought on by the government’s decision to close its ports during the COVID-19 pandemic.
EU neighbours Italy and Spain have also closed their ports. So has Libya, but that’s due to an ongoing civil war.
Fifty-seven migrants were first taken on board. However, that number increased by 105 after two boats were saved in rescue operations overnight on the 6th and 7th May.
They have been left in limbo over their futures ever since.
The EU, namely Roberta Metsola and EPP, have put forward solutions to the migration crisis. However, there has been silence from the European bloc on the Captain Morgan vessels.
Malta’s government has been reluctant to allow them entry without an immediate plan to relocate the migrants throughout the bloc. So far, only Portugal has said it is ready to accept six people on board the vessel.
Malta has even asked the EU to help fund the Captain Morgan mission, but it seems that it is yet to take form.
Foreign Affairs Minister Evarist Bartolo has stood firm, but the government has already forked out anywhere between €42,000 and €84,000 in direct orders to finance the humanitarian mission.
With an economic recession on the horizon and arrivals only set to continue, the stalemate cannot continue for much longer.
Meanwhile, sources have indicated that there could be no AFM or government representatives on the vessel and that bouncers could be doing work normally reserved for official personnel.
Transport Minister Ian Borg has said there could be at most eight Captian Morgan crew on board. The lack of official oversight raises concerns over what could happen to the people on board over the coming weeks. Their situation seems unlikely to change without government intervention.
What do you think will happen to the people on board? Comment below