El “Santa María” arrestado por contrabando

Parece una noticia del Mundo Today, pero seguramente el Malta Today es un periodico serio, según este último, el petrolero Santa Maria ha sido arrestado por las autoridades de Malta el pasado 1 de julio bajo las sospechas de realizar contrabando de fuel desde Libia, además hablan de un derrame desde el barco nodriza.

El nombre de recuerda al supertanque de Petronor ya desguazado, pero por la foto y algún dato más, parece que el Santa Maria es el barco que está fletado por la EMSA, si esto es así, seguro que los de la EMSA han sido los primeros sorprendidos, pero es lo que tiene tener una flota a tiempo parcial o en disponibilidad y no en propiedad, que mientras se puedan dedicar a otros negocios más lucrativos no van a estar esperando ver pasar el tiempo.

The AFM said it first intercepted MV Santa Maria yesterday afternoon. Months-long investigation into contraband fuel smuggled to Malta from Libya has finally bore fruit after swift action by members of the Rapid Intervention Union together with the Armed Forces of Malta led to the arrest of 28 individuals.

MaltaToday is so far informed that among the people arrested are a number of Maltese, Indonesians and Egyptians.

As soon as the vessel, Maltese registered ship Santa Maria, berthed at the Senglea port this morning, the police started searching the vessel for contraband fuel. Investigations kickstarted after the AFM realised a second ship had tried to load smuggled fuel on the MV Santa Maria.

Yesterday, at around 3.45pm, an AFM Islander Aircraft on a routine patrol observed the Maltese registered vessel MV ‘ALICE’ sailing 30NM South of Malta trailing what appeared to be an illegal discharge of some form of fuel.

The Inshore Patrol Vessel P24 was diverted to the scene from routine patrol activities while a second patrol craft, the coastal patrol vessel P52, was also instructed to proceed to the area.

It was established that the MV Alice had 80,000ltrs of fuel loaded from Libya intended for ship to ship transfer on the MV Santa Maria.

Customs authorities verified authority for fuel transfer, however, an AFM boarding team reported that the MV ALICE was leaking fuel.

The oil spill was reported to the Malta Police Authorities as maritime pollution of this nature is regarded as a criminal offence and at 8.00pm the MV ALICE was placed under arrest and ordered to proceed to Grand Harbour. Three other locally-registered vessels suspected of being engaged in fuel transfers with the ALICE were also ordered to stop any fuel transfer activities and proceed towards Malta for further investigations.

All four vessels entered Grand Harbour and docked at Boiler Wharf under the escort of AFM Maritime Squadron personnel at 8am today.

It has also been reported that none of the persons who were onboard the vessel were carrying identity documents.

The criminal investigation, run by the CID, is led by Inspector Chris Pullicino.

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