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Soroa, José Maria Ruiz

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El Correo - Spain | 19/07/2006

Illegal immigrants stranded off the Malta coast

The Spanish lawyer José Maria Ruiz Soroa is indignant about "the situation of the Eritrean illegal immigrants rescued by a Spanish fishing trawler after their boat's engine stalled off the Maltese coast. The island's authorities are refusing to allow them to go ashore. This is reminiscent of the unjust and desperate situation of those who may be considered the disinherited of the sea, whom states habitually treat with the same pragmatism: 'not in my port'. ... According to international maritime laws, states are required to 'cooperate' with sailors who come to the aid of shipwreck victims. In the present case, Malta cannot evade its responsibilities under the pretext that the Eritreans were rescued in Libyan territorial waters. The problem is that the term 'cooperate' is interpreted by states in the same way as before: 'we help, but not in our port'."

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