Threats in international waters
Early Wednesday morning, the so-called Libyan Coast Guard threatened the rescue ship SEA-EYE 4 and urged it to leave “Libyan territory”. However, the SEA-EYE 4 was in international waters at the time, where ships are allowed to move freely according to international laws.
The Libyan warship, marked 660, circled the SEA-EYE 4 for 50 minutes at a distance of about 500 meters and repeated its threats several times, then turned away to head west.
SEA-EYE 4’s head of mission informed the Maritime Distress Control Center in Rome and the German authorities about the incident. The so-called Libyan Coast Guard has threatened rescue ships with violence several times in recent years and even fired warning shots. Ongoing rescue missions have also been repeatedly disrupted by the so-called Libyan Coast Guard, in some cases causing people to drown.
“EU member states are funding the so-called Libyan Coast Guard to keep people from fleeing Libya. In doing so, these EU states are supporting violent and unpredictable actors. These unscrupulous militias are a political tool. Every time the so-called Libyan Coast Guard drags people back into civil war, obstructs rescue operations or threatens sea rescuers, EU member states accept a significant share of responsibility for these crimes. The EU must stop cooperating with the so-called Libyan Coast Guard and ensure safe passages for all people seeking protection,” says Gorden Isler, Chairman of Sea-Eye e. V.