From the Daphne Project: Malta’s central Mediterranean location makes it prime smuggler territory, but it has other charms as well. Shell companies proliferate there. Vessels change names and ownership with ease, swapping national flags from Togo to Tanzania to Belize.
Investigators say the smugglers innovate constantly, scouting new routes and implementing new techniques, from masquerading as fishermen to interspersing legitimate cargo with illegal wares. The trade crosses many borders around the Mediterranean, from the ports of Spain all the way east to the island of Cyprus.
The accused smugglers have one thing in common: connections in Malta.