‘Twenty-seven illegal immigrants spent a day at sea holding on to buoys around a giant tuna net as the Maltese and Libyan governments argued over who should save them from drowning.
They were picked up eventually by an Italian patrol vessel. The men – Africans of various nationalities – had paid for a passage from Libya to Europe in an open boat that foundered on Saturday.
Soon after their boat went down they were spotted by the Maltese tug Boudafel, which was towing a huge tuna-breeding plant towards Spain.
The men said the tug threw them a line and began towing them, ahead of the plant.’