An aerial photo taken by the Armed Forces of Malta’s FRONTEX-operated Casa-212 Aviocar patrol and surveillance aircraft has been released, showing the interception of a rubber dinghy with five Eritrean illegal immigrants by crewmen of AFM offshore patrol vessel (OPV) P61.
The AFM said that this declassified image “clearly shows the excellent and clean state that the intercepted rubber dinghy was in, as well as the good state of health of the occupants, who can be seen sitting down.”
The five illegal immigrants on the dinghy had alleged that 75 other illegal immigrants had died on the same dinghy and they were thrown in the sea. While strong doubts are being cast on the immigrant’s story, the incident has strained once again the relations between Malta and Italy over the search and rescue of illegal immigrants crossing from North Africa, especially from Libya.
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