The Libyan coastguard has not been operating in its maritime rescue zone over the past month, according to reports from German search and rescue NGO Sea-Eye.
Instead, they are being deployed for combat operations in the civil war between Haftar Libyan National Army and the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord. Some of these boats were supplied to Libya by Italy and France.
The Libyan coastguard has largely been responsible for rescues in the Mediterranean Sea, in the absence of NGO rescue boats and the halting of Operation Sophia’s naval operations. Between 1 January and 1 May 2019, 257 people lost their lives while attempting to migrate to Europe from Libya by sea, according to latest data from the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
“Obviously, the government of Tripoli has its own problems instead of dealing with EU border protection,” says Gorden Isler, a spokesperson for the German humanitarian rescue organisation Sea-Eye.
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