At least 120 asylum seekers are feared dead off the coast of Libya while they were attempting to reach Europe.
Mediterranean rescue hotline Alarm Phone, said, “The people could have been rescued but all authorities knowingly left them to die at sea.”
The volunteer service claims it was in contact with the boat in distress over 10 hours on 21 April, and repeatedly relayed its GPS position and the dire situation to European and Libyan authorities. It said all the European authorities rejected responsibility to coordinate the search operation and instead pointed at the Libyan authorities as the “competent” authorities.
“The Libyan coastguard, however, refused to launch or coordinate a rescue operation, leaving the 130 people out in a rough sea for a whole night,” the charity said.
“The lack of an efficient patrolling system is undeniable and unacceptable,” Flavio Di Giacomo, Italy’s spokesman for the UN migration agency, tweeted. “Things need to change.”
A number of NGO rescue boats are stuck in Italian ports after authorities ordered their seizure.
Conversations between at least three Libyan senior coastguards and Italian officials, expose the indifference of individuals on the Libyan side to the plight of migrants and to international law and their “uncooperative behaviour” which allegedly resulted in the deaths of hundreds of migrants.
More than 100 asylum seekers feared dead after shipwreck off Libya | Libya | The Guardian
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