Freetown, Sierra Leone (PANA) – The Sierra Leone Maritime Administration (SLMA) has revoked the registration of the vessel ‘Ezadeen’ that was found abandoned with over 400 illegal migrants on board last week.
The Sierra Leone-flagged ship was abandoned by its crew, and had to be rescued by the Italian Navy, which brought it to the Italian coast Friday.
The migrants, said to be mostly Syrians, included women and children.
SLMA said in a statement issued here Wednesday that it has now cancelled the registration of the so-called ‘ghost ship’ and was working with the Italian coast guards and the international shipping registry to address the issue by “taking punitive measures against the owners of the vessel”.
The vessel was registered in Sierra Leone in 2010 as a livestock carrier, and SLMA said ferrying passengers with it contravenes the terms of the agreement.
“Bearing in mind that such a development has the likelihood to affect the good image of Sierra Leone internationally, we are also instituting tougher measures to prevent future reoccurence,” the maritime body said.