Migrant Rescue Ship Targeted by Warning Fire from Libyan Coast Guard

The rescue organization SOS-Mediterranean has accused the Libyan Coast Guard of firing warning shots at a humanitarian aid ship trying to rescue a rubber boat carrying migrants off the coast of Libya.

SOS-Mediterranean, whose ship received a warning from the Libyan Coast Guard, said Saturday’s incident in international waters was “another reckless maritime interception of migrants by the Libyan Coast Guard, which has been trained and funded by the European Union to stem the flow of migrants.” “to Europe”.

The non-profit organization said the rescue boat it chartered and operated, Ocean Viking, responded to a distress call to help a rubber boat carrying migrants in the Mediterranean when a Libyan Coast Guard vessel arrived on the scene.

The organization said in a statement that a Coast Guard vessel “dangerously” approached the rescue ship and threatened its crew with “weapons and shots in the air.” She pointed out that Coast Guard personnel were caught on camera threatening the ship and firing weapons into the air.

The footage shows the Coast Guard vessel sailing at high speed before maneuvering, apparently to prevent the Ocean Viking from reaching the migrant boat. At some point, he heard gunshots. Someone on the ship said, “You can’t shoot at us. You cannot shoot at us. We’re leaving the water now.”

Under threat, the ship sailed away, and the Libyan coast guard intercepted the boat and “forcibly” returned the migrants to Libya.

The organization indicated that in January last year, the Libyan Coast Guard tried to prevent a member of the SOS-Mediterranean team from returning to the Ocean Viking ship after a rescue operation. The organization added that the boat was able to safely return the rescued migrants to the mother ship.

Notably, the Libyan Coast Guard is receiving funding and training from the European Union as part of efforts to stem the flow of migrants from the North African country to Italian shores.

Source: “AB”

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