Libyan Coast Guard detains Spanish NGO vessel in the Med

The Libyan Coast Guard detained a Spanish migrant-rescue NGO vessel near Libyan waters, holding the vessel and crew captive for nearly two hours.

Proactiva Open Arms said on Tuesday that their vessel Golf Azzurro, a former fishing trawler, was “kidnapped” by a Libyan Coast Guard ship in international waters off the coast of Libya.

According to the group, the Libyan vessel threatened to open fire at Golf Azzurro if the vessel didn’t follow the coast guard ship into Libyan territorial waters.

The incident lasted 1 hours and 44 minutes, after which the vessel was released from “detention”.

The incident comes after the Libyan government announced it was creating maritime exclusion zone off the Libyan coast last Thursday. Following the announcement, German aid group Sea Eye, Medicines Sans Frontiers (Doctors Without Borders) and Save the Children all said they were halting Mediterranean Sea rescue operations.


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