Relatives of people on a boat carrying 110 migrants that went off radar on Friday after allegedly being shot at by the Libyan coastguard fear the passengers have been chased all the way to Libya.
Migrant emergency hotline Alarm Phone is claiming the people onboard – who had left from Lebanon – had told the NGO before going missing that they had been shot at and chased by a vessel believed to be from the Libyan coastguard.
They said one person had been injured, one engine had broken down and they were trying to reach Greek shores.
So Alarm Phone contacted Greece’s Joint Rescue Coordination Centre only to be told that Maltese authorities were “handling” the situation, as the boat was in Malta’s search-and-rescue zone. In a follow-up call, Greek authorities reiterated that the boat was Malta’s responsibility.
On Saturday morning, the Maltese authorities were “aware” of the missing boat but could not provide any information due to having “so many open cases”.
Shortly after, Greece said that it had sent a vessel to search for the missing vessel.
On Sunday afternoon, an Alarm Phone spokesperson said relatives of the migrants had contacted the NGO saying they feared the 110 people had been chased to Libya.
“The boat left Lebanon, was in Malta’s SAR and later moved into Greece’s SAR, trying to escape Libyan militia that shot at them. We are currently searching for more evidence on this abduction [to Libya],” Alarm Phone added.
🚩Alarm Phone statement!
110 people called us when they were in the Search and Rescue zones of #Malta and later #Greece. Now they are imprisoned in #Libya, abducted by a Libyan militia, Europe’s partner in migration control and border crimes.https://t.co/NHL8r0MR38
— @alarmphone (@alarm_phone) August 20, 2023