The Sea-Watch rescue ship. Credit: ANSA/AP Photo/Rene Rossignaud
The Sea-Watch rescue ship. Credit: ANSA/AP Photo/Rene Rossignaud

The NGO vessel Sea Watch is currently awaiting instructions about where to dock and disembark 47 migrants they rescued at sea. The crew of the Sea Watch told ANSA that the migrants aboard are terrorized by the thought of being brought back to Libya. "Their health condition is good and stable, but now worsening weather conditions are concerning," the crew said.

The news that those who were rescued from a boat on January 20 off the coast of Misurata were taken back to Libya has reached the rescued migrants currently aboard the NGO vessel Sea Watch. "They are terrorized," said the crew aboard the Sea Watch. "They don't want to go back to Libya". 

Bad weather is now also a concern aboard the vessel. "The weather conditions are worsening; the migrants are ok but now the weather concerns us," said the crew of the Sea Watch. 

'Don't take us back to Libya' 

The boat is currently at sea off the coast of Tripoli, alone and without aid. The crew has been trying for days to get in contact with authorities but hasn't had any response. "We were sent to the Libyans but they don't respond," the crew said. "There's no way to speak with them." 

News of the Lady Sham, the cargo ship that took 100 migrants in difficulty back to Libya, has also reached the migrants aboard the Sea Watch. "It's another Nevin case," the crew said, referring to the 79 refugees who last November refused to disembark from a vessel that took them back to the same Libyan port they had departed from. "They are taking those people back to hell," activists and NGO volunteers said. 

The hell they speak of is made up of violence and abuses that the 47 migrants currently aboard the Sea Watch recall, while wrapped in blankets trying to shelter from the cold. "Don't bring us back to Libya" is their desperate appeal as the sea grows darker. 

Open Arms awaiting clearance 

The vessel remains stationary as the crew continues to attempt to contact authorities to figure out who is responsible for taking charge of the operation. Meanwhile, Open Arms, the NGO vessel that was stopped in Barcelona as it waited for clearance to go back out to sea, continues to tell of the tragic Mediterranean death toll. "It's official, 200 people drowned in the first 21 days of 2019. The story will show us who were the victims and who the executioners," it tweeted.

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