26 people in distress call Alarm Phone – intercepted and abducted back to Libya
Yesterday, in the morning of the 5th of October, we received a direct call from a boat in distress coming from Libya. There were 26 people on board, among them 5 women and 3 children, from Nigeria, Bangladesh and Morocco. They had left from Khoms during the night. One of the women informed us that she was pregnant. We instructed them to send their GPS position, which they were eventually able to do. They were located in international waters but in the self-declared SAR zone of the Libyan authorities backed by Europe.
We alerted the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in Rome as well as the civil reconnaissance aircraft Colibri which was then able to detect the boat. Colibri informed the Proactiva rescue asset Astral to the situation, which was, however, still many hours away from the location of the migrant boat. There was also the bulk carrier Glovis Maggelan in the area and while first stating that they would move to the boat, they never reached it. At 6pm, we lost contact to the boat and their satellite phone seemed to have been switched off or broken. Several hour later, we learned that the boat had been intercepted by the so-called Libyan coastguards. They are now being returned to a war-torn country where the vilest atrocities are committed against people seeking to flee to Europe.