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Wednesday, 16 August 2017 - 9:11am

Save the Children is appalled at reports that an NGO vessel was forced to abandon its deployment to the rescue zone yesterday after being confronted at sea by Libyan authorities. These worrying reports of open hostility and threats against humanitarian actors underline ours and other NGOs concerns for the safety and security of our teams in the newly imposed Libyan Search and Rescue zone.

The vessel, run by Proactiva Open Arms, was operating 27nautical miles from Libyan shores, an area which many believe to be International waters.

Rob MacGillivray, Director of Operations said: “It is abhorrent that any actors at sea would seek to attack an NGO vessel at work in International waters. It is clearly not safe to enter the Libyan SAR zone, nor is it viable to operate outside of it.

The lack of NGO presence creates a worrying sense of invisibility - no one truly knows whether migrants making desperate attempts to leave Libya are drowning on their way, or being forced back to the horrors they have just escaped. We must see a clear plan and assurance of safety for NGOs operating in the rescue zone, before countless lives are lost.”

ENDS ---

For more information or to speak to our spokesperson in Malta kindly contact:

Gemma Parkin



Bhanu Bhatnagar




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