Sea Watch was instructed by MRCC Rome to carry out a rescue operation when the Libyan Coast Guard intervened. They nearly crash with the Sea Watch’s vessel. MRCC then indicates to Sea-Watch that the LCG was the on scene coordinator. A gun was pointed out at the migrants and at Sea-Watch. People were taken back to Tripoli.

According to the Libyan Coast Guard, they intervened due to the fact the distress call happened at 3 nm from their coast. However Sea Watch argued that the distress call happened at high seas.


SAR case number: N.A

SAR organisation: Sea Watch

SAR asset: Sea Watch 3

Incident types: Order to stay away by non-EU authority; Intimidation (Other)

Date of SAR (UTC): 10/05/2017

Source of first information for the NGO: MRCC Rome


Number of migrant boats: 1

Type of migrant boat(s): Wooden Boat

Number of people on board per boat: 500

Other vessels in the vicinity (e.g. unidentified / cargo / aircrafts): Libyan Coast Guard vessel

Actors involved (by asset / institution type): Libyan Coast Guard/Navy


Position(s) of vessel(s) in distress at the time of SAR request:

Location description: High seas

Approximate distance from coast line: 20 Nautical Miles