Last Wednesday, 30.06.2021, the crew of our reconnaissance aircraft Seabird witnessed a brutal attack by the so-called Libyan Coast Guard on 50 people in distress at sea:
Summary of the incident
During a mission with our reconnaissance aircraft Seabird on 30 June 2021, we overheard a message at 13:39 UTC about a distress at sea within the Maltese search and rescue zone: “50 people, many children”.
Seabird flew in the direction of the case and spotted the ship “PB 648 – Ras Jadir” of the so-called Libyan Coast Guard. The Ras Jadir vessel was one of four boats donated by Italy to the so-called Libyan Coast Guard in May 2017.
A few minutes later, at 14:11 UTC, we found a blue wooden boat with about 50 people on board in the Maltese search and rescue zone. We informed the relevant authorities in Malta by email and phone about the distress case. They told us that they would not come to the aid of the refugees for the time being but would “take up investigations”. Finally, they hung up when we informed them that a possible imminent pushback to Libya by the nearby ship Ras Jadir would be against the law.
A short time later, we witnessed a brutal attack by the so-called Libyan Coast Guard and were able to capture it on film before we had to leave the scene due to lack of fuel. On our video footage, you can clearly see the so-called Libyan Coast Guard firing two shots in the direction of the wooden boat with 50 people on board – including many children. Several times the crew of the Ras Jadir throws objects at the people on board and tries to ram the wooden boat and “catch” it with a rope.