Mediterranean: MSF rescue boat waved back by Italian authorities

Italy's actions are scandalous», condemned Juan Mathias Gil, MSF representative for search and rescue operations. “The authorities we accused of disobeying, the Italian-backed Libyan Coast Guard, put people's lives at risk that day. We are punished even though we have only fulfilled our legal duty to save life at sea.»
On 16 March, an MSF team rescued 146 people on a wooden boat in international waters. Amid the rescue, a Libyan Coast Guard patrol boat gifted to Libya by the Italian government in 2023 arrived at the scene and attempted to disrupt the rescue. The Libyan coast guard attempted a forcible boarding attack on one of MSF's rescue boats, and aggressively threatened to arrest survivors and MSF staff and forcibly return them to Libya. For more than two hours, the Libyan patrol boat carried out dangerous maneuvers to block the ongoing rescue operation, risking the lives of dozens of people, including MSF staff.

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