“This happened in international waters, and was not part of Malta’s jurisdiction,” the source said. “The boat had left illegally from Libya, so they had jurisdiction in international waters since they had exited from their borders.”
In the video, which was uploaded by international humanitarian NGO Sea-Watch, a Libyan coast guard ship is seen hunting down a boat full of migrants. The migrants’ vessel, which is fleeing at full speed, attempts a number of sea manoeuvres to evade authorities.
Yesterday #Seabird witnessed a brutal attack by the so-called Libyan Coast Guard deep in the Maltese SAR zone. Our video shows: Shots have been fired in the direction of the boat, the so-called Libyan Coast Guard tried to ram the boat several times and threw objects at people. pic.twitter.com/0C2YSmcPoO
— Sea-Watch International (@seawatch_intl) July 1, 2021
At some point, the coast guard attempts to ram the boat physically. At others, they are seen to be shooting near the migrant boat.
“The warning shots that were sent are part of the coast guard’s duty – there needs to be a distinction between warning shots and shots intended to cause harm,” they explained, pointing out that warning shots are in line with international law, as outrageous as they may seem.
“Plus, the boat isn’t in distress – it’s moving as fast as the coast guard.”
When asked what it would take for Maltese forces to intervene in a situation like this, the source explained that Malta could only intervene in a case of distress within its waters or its Search And Rescue Zone.
Malta finds itself on the forefront of an ongoing migration crisis, with thousands of people fleeing parts of Africa and the Middle East to find a new life in Europe. Just recently, Malta sent a group of migrants to Germany as part of a relocation program.
What do you make of this video?