So-called Libyan Coast Guard prevents escape from civil war country Libya
On Wednesday afternoon, March 30, 2022, a distress call was forwarded to SEA-EYE 4, which the Alarm Phone reported to the responsible authorities. The rescue ship was already on its way to Malta because the mission was scheduled to end on Wednesday. But the SEA-EYE 4 was the only rescue ship east of Tripoli and therefore turned back. After several hours of sailing, the SEA-EYE 4 found the gray rubber boat with 74 people, including 22 children aboard. 15 people had to be treated in the ship’s sick bay. The refugees come from Egypt, Nigeria, Sudan, South Sudan and Syria. Together with the rescued people who were taken over by SEA-EYE 4 from a container ship on Tuesday, there are now a total of 106 rescued persons aboard the ship.
Another emergency call reported by Alarm Phone led to an all-night search for 90 people in distress on Wednesday. The search was unsuccessful and had to be interrupted on Thursday morning because the coordinates of another boat with 145 people in distress were reported to the ship. Before the SEA-EYE 4 could reach the boat in distress, Alarm Phone had already reported an illegal push-back by the so-called Libyan Coast Guard.
“With the renewal of the IRINI mandate, the federal government declared that the Libyan coast guard could no longer be supported and trained, but here in the Libyan rescue zone we will continue to be eyewitnesses to returns that violate international law,” says Gorden Isler, Chairman of Sea-Eye e. V.
There is no information about the whereabouts of 90 people, even if the probability of a push-back is very high in this case as well.
“A shipwreck that nobody will ever talk about again, because it’s obviously become normality for us in Europe that black people fleeing to suffer such a fate is unfortunately also a possibility,” Isler continues.
The SEA-EYE 4 must now find a safe place to disembark 106 people from six different countries of origin.
“If the people hadn’t been rescued, it would have been very unlikely that they would have survived, because the weather has changed suddenly in the last few days,” says Isler.
On Tuesday, 32 people were rescued from a small fishing boat by the container ship KARINA in 4 m waves. Hagen Kopp from Alarm Phone called Tuesday’s escape attempt “completely desperate” because the people on this route had “little chance of survival” without rescue by a container ship.The SEA-EYE 4 will enter Maltese waters on Friday, one day before the Pope’s visit. A meeting with migrants in a Catholic reception center is also planned.
“Perhaps an unequivocal appeal by the Pope to the Maltese government can make Malta, as the closest EU state, feel responsible for 106 people seeking protection,” says Isler.