Icelandic captain goes into hiding to escape arrest in Malta Skip to content

Icelandic captain goes into hiding to escape arrest in Malta

Police authorities on the Mediterranean island of Malta allegedly issued a warrant for the arrest of Ólafur Ragnarsson last weekend, the captain of Eyborg who has transported tuna pens for a Maltese company for a year. He is now in hiding.

One morning in June, Ragnarsson woke up to find about 20 people sitting on the tuna pen he was transporting. He took the people aboard the Eyborg and brought them to Malta, as Fréttabladid reports.

The people said they had been on a boat which overturned, and ten of their fellow travelers had drowned. They were from the African countries of Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and Nigeria.

Authorities in Malta were allegedly not pleased when Ragnarsson brought the stranded Africans to their country. Since their arrival in Malta, the individuals involved have been under Ragnarsson’s care.

“He called me in shock, and I’m about to lose it, but I’m still trying to get it confirmed that a warrant was really issued for his arrest,” said Ragnarsson’s wife, Fanný Hjartardóttir, who has not seen her husband since April.

Birgir Sigurjónsson, the owner of the Eyborg, said he had not heard anything except that Ragnarsson had read that he was to be arrested for taking the individuals aboard the ship in a local newspaper.

“He is just hiding now and has his phone turned off. I imagine that this must have been some nonsense the journalist cooked up,” Sigurjónsson said, adding he would contact the foreign ministry. “Malta accepted these people freely and I thought the case was closed.”

Maltese authorities are apparently increasingly concerned about illegal immigrants who have ties with terrorism. Fréttabladid contacted a senior police officer in Malta, who said he had not heard about the alleged arrest warrant for Ragnarsson.

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