The captain of the Lifeline humanitarian rescue ship was summoned to court in Valletta on Monday over claims of the vessel was not properly registered.
Activists wearing t-shirts reading ‘Save Lives’ protested in front of the Law Courts building as Lifeline captain Claus-Peter Reisch entered.
Police claim that the captain’s sea license was limited to coastal waters, while the Lifeline undertook rescue operations in international waters.
Reisch, a German national, has been granted bail on a personal guarantee of €10,000 ($11,600) but cannot leave the country.
“What we hope is that this case is not a symptom of the current climate in the Mediterranean where governments are closing the EU’s border and targeting rescue NGO’s who are doing what governments must be doing,” one of Reisch’s lawyers said.
The Lifeline ship stranded at sea for five days with more than 200 migrants, including five children, on board, before it was allowed to enter the port of Valetta on Wednesday.