Three migrants were allegedly detained and removed from an offshore resupply vessel on Saturday, Sea Watch reports.
The German migrant rescue NGO Sea Watch, reports that three migrants that swam to an offshore vessel after their boat rubber boat collapsed, had been picked up the Libyan authorities. This incident unfolded while a further three migrants were seen clutching the wreckage of the boat.
Sea Watch adds that the, ‘European-flagged ship’ – Vos Triton, did not offer protection to those in the water and had instead allowed the Libyan authorities to board and detain those who had sought rescue on board.
They state that the event unfolded while they were carrying out aerial surveillance of what they argue was an act of forcible return by the Libyan Coastguard.
From the cockpit of the MoonBird (Sea Watch’s aerial asset) the crew observed people jumping from a rubber dinghy to escape the interception. Sea Watch says that the footage of activity over the last 48 hours shows, ‘how direly rescue capacities are needed there.’
The news comes in the wake of a cluster of 4 migrant boats in distress spotted off of the coasts of Tunisia and Libya.
In the first instance, around 65 migrants had drowned off of the coast of Tunisia with the Tunisian Navy assisted by Maltese AFM aerial assets rescuing 16 survivors. The Maltese also rescued and disembarked 85 migrants in Malta on Saturday morning. The Italian Navy had also rescued 68 migrants on the Thursday prior. The NGO states that this spate of activity and interception means that, ‘at least 240 people forcibly returned to Libya’
Neeske Beckmann Moonbird’s Tactical Coordinator, said that what was observed showed that the European Union ‘is now openly’ breaching international law by aiding the Libyan coastguard to migrant boats.
‘Each of these boats starting at the moment resembles an act of desperation, but the picture of these people trying swim to safety sticks in your mind … The EU is now openly coordinating the breach of international law at its external border by sending planes to guide the Libyans to the boats. But due to their incompetence, there were also a few surprisingly positive incidents in the midst of the chaos: After the Italian Navy had led by example on Thursday, the Italian Coast Guard also rescued 68 people, the Maltese 85. To push for these interventions is the reason why we continue to fly missions on a daily basis, for no one should die at sea and no one should be kidnapped back to Libya.’