The German migrant transport NGO Sea Watch picked up 165 migrants in rubber dinghies off the Libyan coast in two separate operations on Wednesday.
Nearly 100 illegal migrants were picked up just 29 miles off the coast of Zawiya, a district west of the Libyan capital of Tripoli, during vessel’s first operation which was carried out Wednesday morning. Apparently, a Libyan Coast Guard boat was also en route to intercept the migrants, but was no longer needed since the Sea Watch reached the dinghies first.
The NGO claims that their actions were morally justified because the Libyan Coast Guard would have brought the illegal migrants back to Libya had they reached them first.
Shortly after the first pick-up had occurred, Sea-Watch announced that its search plane “Moonbird” had located another dinghy filled with migrants. Later that day, the NGO announced that an additional 65 migrants had been picked up by the boat.
Closer to Tripoli, the Libyan Coast Guard was able to reach boat filled will illegal migrants before the NGOs could get to them. Following the pick-up, the Italian NGO Mediterranea, which was also in the area, expressed their outrage at the Libyan Coast Guard.
“While celebrating the rescue of children, women and men by Sea Watch 3, we are also outraged that others have been captured by the Libyan Coast Guard. And thus go back to hell, before our eyes … Powerless, we witnessed the intervention of Libyan militias on speed boats donated by our country,” the leftist NGO wrote.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NGOs have had their migrant taxiing operation severely hindered. In early June, however, the German and Italian migrant transport vessels were permitted to resume their services after Italian authorities temporarily impounded the ships for two months.
Recently, three migrants who were brought to Sicily last year by Sea-Watch were convicted by a Sicilian court of crimes which involved murder, torture, sexual violence, human trafficking, and involvement with criminal organizations, as previously reported by Voice of Europe. The three migrants were each sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for their crimes.
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