Libya witnessed another mass exodus with more than a thousand migrants departing from its shores in the past 24 hours in a bid to reach Europe. Many were intercepted by the Coast Guard but, due to the NGO ships active in the Meditteranean, many have managed to slip past the authorities.
"It's been our busiest day in a long time, maybe in years," said Sea Watch NGO international mission leader Neeske Beckmann, whose work involves assisting migrants leaving Libya to reach the European continent.
The mass crossings have also been confirmed by the organisation called Alarm Phone, who said they received multiple calls alerting them to some 74 people leaving Libya at risk of drowning in dinghies that began filling with water.
🆘! ~74 people at risk of drowning!— Alarm Phone (@alarm_phone) February 4, 2021
The AlarmPhone was alerted to another boat fleeing #Libya, carrying about 74 people on board. They are in panic and say that water is entering their boat! We have informed authorities and demand the immediate launch of a rescue operation! pic.twitter.com/Tb3auis5pe
Shortly afterwards, the United Nations Organization for Migration (IOM) reported that more than a thousand migrants had departed Libya in 24 hours. However, over 800 of them were intercepted and returned by the Coast Guard, meaning that more than 200 migrants have managed to slip passed the authorities.
In 24 hours, more than 1,000 migrants departed from #Libya, fleeing dire humanitarian conditions.— IOM Libya (@IOM_Libya) February 5, 2021
Over 800 of them were intercepted and returned to shore.
While IOM teams continue to provide assistance at disembarkation points, we maintain that #Libya is not a safe port. pic.twitter.com/8rCg13XAdf
In a recent post meant to encourage immigrants, IOM teams said they continue to provide assistance to migrants at disembarkation points and maintain their view that Libya is not a safe port. This also means if someone sets sail from Libya, they cannot be returned there.
#OceanViking rescued more than 180 persons from two boats in distress this morning.— SOS MEDITERRANEE (@SOSMedIntl) February 5, 2021
The first boat in distress was spotted from the bridge just before 7. The teams proceeded to rescue 71 men, 11 of them minors, from an overcrowded rubber boat in int'l waters 40 NM off Al Khoms. pic.twitter.com/UQm4ZqrBMR
During the day the Ocean Viking shared a post on Twitter, announcing that they rescued more than 180 people from two boats in two separate missions. This is one of the most active NGO ships on the Mediterranean, bringing 370 illegal migrants to Italy in January alone.