Freitag, 21. Oktober 2016

Libyan coastguard attacks Sea-Watch during rescue operation, causing deaths

We learn of an attack by the Libyan coastguard on a dinghy loaded with migrants during a rescue operation by the crew of the Sea-Watch 2. The following is their press release.

During one of the rescue operations carried out today, the actions of a motorboat apparently belonging to the Libyan coastguard caused multiple deaths in the central Mediterranean, 14 miles from Libya. While we were providing first aid to a dinghy with around 150 migrants on board, a Libyan coastguard vessel arrived and began attacking them, boarding the dinghy and beating its passengers with clubs. Our two motorboats were also violently threatened, preventing our crew from providing lifejackets and medical assistance to those in need.
The violent actions of the Libyan coastguard caused panic aboard the struggling dinghy, and one of its air chambers collapsed causing most of those on board to fall into the sea. Our crew immediately tried to save as many people as possible, but for some there was nothing we could do. Four bodies were brought aboard the Sea-Watch 2. Another four people are unconscious and receiving medical treatment. 120 migrants should have been brought to safety on board our ship.

This latest episode by supposed Libyan forces not only endangered the crew of volunteer rescue workers, it caused the deaths of many migrants. At the present time it is unclear why the Libyan coastguard may have undertaken this course of action. Sea-Watch requests an immediate and detailed solution to this violation of humanitarian law.

The crew of the Sea-Watch 2 is currently working to rescue several migrant vessels in difficulty. All personnel are working at maximum capacity.

Translation: Amica Sciortino Nowlan

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