Libyan coast guards fired on Wednesday (June 30) near a small migrant boat, which was sailing towards the Italian island of Lampedusa. The images, broadcast on the internet, were taken by the German NGO Sea-Watch, from its reconnaissance plane, the Seabird.
In this video, we hear two humanitarians commenting on the chilling scene they witness. A Libyan Coast Guard boat attacks a makeshift boat. On board, 63 migrants. “They’re shooting, the so-called Libyan Coast Guard! Please keep your distance, don’t shoot people! Stop shooting in the water”, pleads with one of the two humanitarians.
At that moment, we see the star of the coast guard trying to ram the boat of the migrants. The collision is narrowly avoided. “I’m scared when they get close like that”, comments the other humanitarian, aboard the reconnaissance plane. “The so-called Libyan Coast Guard, what you are doing is very dangerous, STOP!”
Objects are thrown at the migrants who will be chased for an hour and a half. But the shipwreck is ultimately avoided. The small boat even managed to reach the coast of Lampedusa.
Part of Italy is indignant. According to Sea-Watch and the Sinistra italiana party, the Italian Left, this coast guard patrol boat was donated by Italy, which maintains and partly finances the Libyan coast guard.
Italy saw nearly 21,000 people arrive on its shores in the first half of 2021, three times more than over the same period in 2020. More than 830 people perished while trying to cross the Mediterranean, according to the UN.