Dozens of migrants refuse to leave container ship in Libya

2018-11-15 15:49
iStock

iStock

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Dozens of migrants have barricaded themselves in a container ship in the Libyan port city of Misrata for the past five days after being picked up at sea, and refuse to disembark, saying Libya is too dangerous for them.

Loaded with cars, the ship Nivin was already bound for Misrata when it picked up 93 migrants in a foundering raft in the Mediterranean Sea late on Friday and continued toward its destination. They have been in the Misrata port ever since, with the captain and crew taking refuge on the upper decks.

By late on Wednesday, at least 77 remained on board after more than a dozen of the migrants agreed to leave with the Libyan coast guard for a nearby detention center - including a woman and her infant. The others refused, saying Libya was deadly for migrants and they wanted to go to Europe.

One of the migrants, a man from South Sudan reached by The Associated Press on the ship, vowed on Wednesday to reach Europe or die trying. He said six commercial ships passed his group before the Nivin finally stopped.

Libya's coast guard had no immediate comment on the situation.

With just one rescue ship patrolling the Mediterranean, and European ports refusing to take in rescued migrants, commercial ships have become increasingly leery of picking up people in the sea. Repeatedly in recent months, they have found themselves caught in the middle between governments hostile to new migrants and an obligation under international maritime law to save

The man, who identified himself only by his name, Victor, fearing for his safety, said he himself had already been imprisoned repeatedly in Libya and that his own brother had died there. He had no intention of returning, he said.

"We don't want to go out in Libya," he told The Associated Press. "You can come and take my dead body outside."

Julien Raickman, who is the head of the Doctors Without Borders mission in Libya, said Europe's policy of refusing to take in rescued migrants has led to a spike in deaths. Now one in five who cross perishes at sea, he said.

Raickman said the Libyan coast guard has given international organisations access to the migrants, who have food and some degree of medical care now, but no toilets or other sanitary facilities. The ship's cargo of cars was peacefully unloaded, but the migrants remained unmoved.

"We're afraid that this dispute will end in violence. The people who are on board are determined. They know that they went far and could face charges for taking control of a boat," he said. "But these are people motivated by despair."

* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook

Read more on:    libya  |  north africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.