Libyan Navy claims German NGO hindered migrant rescue

Almost collided during operation

11 May, 20:07

    (ANSAmed) - CAIRO, MAY 11 - The Libyan navy on Thursday said that the German charity Sea Watch had hindered one of its rescue operations off Libya.

    General Ayob Amr Ghasem, Libyan Navy spokesman, said that one of the NGO's boats had sought to stop the rescue operation underway by a Libyan motorboat by threatening to ram into it, according to a document sent to ANSA by the spokesman. The incident occurred on Wednesday morning. The migrant vessel made of wood and carrying almost 500 migrants was intercepted ''19 nautical miles north of Sabratha'', the spokesman said. When the 'Kifah' motorboat came close to the migrant vessel, the Sea Watch boat allegedly ''changed direction in such a way to collide with'' the Libyan Coast Guard said.

    At the same time, the document added, the NGO boat sent a dinghy rapidly towards the boat. Given the ''persistence of the Coast Guard vessel'' in keeping to its route, the Sea Watch one ''changed direction at the last minute to avoid colliding'', Ghasem said. On the basis of contact with the NGO boat, the spokesman said that there was a ''German media team'' onboard - Spiegel TV, according to Al Wasat - and ''the organization protested'', by saying that Libya ''isn't safe for migrants''.

    They have reportedly been taken to a base in Tripoli.


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