Despite threats NGO ship and reconnaissance plane work together to save the lives of 69 people in the central Mediterranean
THE EU-supported Libyan coastguard threatened to shoot at rescue workers in the central Mediterranean today after they witnessed a refugee interception.
The clip shows a Libyan coastguard vessel next to a smaller boat in the distance. A member of the Geo Barent’s crew spots that a person has fallen into the sea.
Another crew member calls the Libyan vessel and says: “Libyan coastguard, this is Geo Barents, there is one person jumped in the water.”
The Libyans respond, saying: “Stay away [you] daughter of [a] whore, prostitutes.
“Stay away from the area … or you will get exposed to gun fire.”
Episode 34: Europe's ‘black sites’ & secret asylum-seeker pushbacks on commercial ships – The Civil Fleet Podcast
- Episode 34: Europe's ‘black sites’ & secret asylum-seeker pushbacks on commercial ships
- Episode 33: Preventing pushbacks at the Lithuania-Belarus border
- Episode 32: Manston: Britain's overcrowded and unsafe migrant detention camp
- Episode 31: Kept at sea as food and water run low
- Episode 30: A new ship, same old problems
MSF said: “Many survivors have told us in the past that interceptions were violent and that they would rather die than be taken back to the cycle of abuse in Libya where they would face inhuman treatment again.
“Intercepting, forcibly returning people to Libya and threatening the civil fleet is unfortunately a common practice in the Central Mediterranean, with the support from Italy and the EU.
“Do you approve of this behaviour by the ‘responsible authorities’? We don’t. It is not acceptable.”
“Our crew left early in the morning for a flight that hadn’t happened like this since March 2022,” Sea-Watch said.
“We could not fly in the Libyan search-and-rescue zone for almost a year, a time in which the so-called Libyan coastguard and other militias brutally abducted people back to Libya unseen, a time in which human rights abuses and distress cases went undocumented.
“Our aerial reconnaissance over the central Mediterranean is essential. It needs a civilian eye over the place where so much else goes down.
“We are flying again and will continue to do.”
Together, the Geo Barents and the Seabird 2 saved the lives of 69 people, including 25 minors, from an overcrowded rubber boat today.
“Despite witnessing multiple interceptions by the Libyan coastguard this morning, we successfully performed the rescue,” MSF said.
“We will continue to provide assistance and care to people in distress at sea and we will never accept additional drowning tragedies.”
Top image shows MSF rescuers aboard a Rhib [Pic: MSF]