Saving life without a licence: Rescue ship trial delayed in Malta

A court in Malta postpones the trial of Claus-Peter Reisch, a German captain of a refugee rescue ship impounded by the government.

A Malta court has postponed the trial of a ship captain who rescues refugees in the Mediterranean Sea.

Claus-Peter Reisch’s ship, the MV Lifeline, is one of three NGO vessels being held in port.

All of the NGO-sponsored rescue ships in the Mediterranean have been stopped from operating.

Two boats have been detained on Malta, a tiny island off the African coast and smallest member-state of the European Union.

Malta has received 19,000 refugees and migrants since 2002. Almost all were rescued at sea.

Although the numbers of those attempting to cross have fallen, official figures make the result clear. Despite the lower number of attempts, the UN says 1,700 migrants have died at sea since the beginning of 2018 and while the NGO ships and their crews are detained, there is no one to bear witness to exactly how many desperate refugees are drowning in the Mediterranean.

Al Jazeera’s Neave Barker reports from the Maltese capital.