Maritime News

Libya forces rescued migrants off cargo ship

23 November 2018

The Libyan authorities have used rubber bullets and tear gas to remove around 80 migrants from a cargo ship that rescued them in the Mediterranean. 

The Panama-flagged Nivin had picked up a group of 95 refugees and migrants making their way from Libya to Italy on a rubber boat, which was sinking. It then returned them to the Libyan port of Misrata. Most of the migrants – many of whom had been held previously in Libyan detention facilities – refused to disembark. After maintaining their stand for 11 days, during which international organisations delivered food and water to the ship, the Libyan authorities used force to remove them. Those who were injured were taken into hospital for treatment, and all were taken to a detention centre.

Fewer Mediterranean migrants have been arriving in Italian waters since the new tough stand by the Italian government to refuse their admission, and as rescue boats operated by international charities have had to withdraw their operations. Under the terms of a deal between Italy and Libya, the Libyan coastguard has been intercepting those migrants still attempting to cross the Mediterranean and returning them to Libya – amounting to an estimated 20,000 people in 2017.

Although the number of migrants attempting the Mediterranean crossing has been falling, the proportion of those drowning and dying has risen. According to the United Nations International Organisation for Migration (IOM), more than 21,000 people have made the crossing in 2018 so far, and 2,054 have died.


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