Moldovan flag ships were used by smugglers of human beings to transport more than 2.000 refugees from the East to the European Union, writes anticoruptie.md.
According to documents, the owners of the ships are companies registered in tax havens in Belize, Panama and the Marshall Islands. Two Moldovan ships changed their masters on the eve of the illegal migrant voyage.
October 16, 2014, the coast of Sicily. TISS ship registered in Moldova, with 317 Syrian and Afghan migrants "on board", floated at the mercy of wind and waves. Captain and crew abandoned the vessel, leaving passengers in the lurch. People gave between 4.500 and 6.000 dollars for a "ticket" to the EU. They traveled in inhumane conditions, crammed into a 60 meter vessel designed for transporting goods. Instead of going to Italy, they found themselves helpless in the Mediterranean sea. Migrants were able to send a call for help, were rescued by the Italian Coast Guard. Soldiers found on board of the Moldovan ship 230 men, 37 women and 50 minors. The refugees survived. But they could have had another fate than the 10.000 migrants en route to the EU, who died drowned in the waters of the Mediterranean in the years 2014 to 2016, notes the source.
In 2014, traffickers have used three Moldovan-flagged ships to transport more than 2.000 refugees from the East to the EU. TISS was the first ship used by smugglers. The second was MERKUR 1. On 20 December the ship with 800 migrants "on board" came in sight of the Italian Coast Guard. The passengers survived. The third: BLUE SKY M. In the night of 30 on December 31 the boat was discovered by the Italian authorities. The cargo ship did not answer any identification calls. Captain and crew have ran away. In the belly of the cargo ship were crammed 793 people. Four people died.
Since 2007, the Government adopted a decision on the approval of rules for the registration of ships in Moldova. Public Institution "Harbor Master Giurgiulesti" - the state body for registration of ships - immediately gave off registration process to floating maritime units.
Moldova stated their easy rules: small fee for registration, renewal of registration or deregistration and short registration time of documents. Another advantage - Moldova does not impose age restrictions on the registration of ships. Soon the Moldovan "flag" has become very popular among businessmen. On August 17, at the State Register of Ships of the Republic of Moldova were registered 315 floating units, 109 being ships.
TISS, MERKUR 1, BLUE SKY M ship owners took advantage of the simple conditions of registration. Later, they used the vessels in illegal activities.
Further investigation can be read HERE.