The last remaining “charity” fake rescue ship involved in the illegal smuggling of Africans from the North Coast of Africa to Europe is “considering whether to continue its operations” after being intercepted by a Libyan coastguard vessel and ordered to sail towards Tripoli or risk being fired upon.
The Open Arms, run by the fake charity Proactiva Open Arms was intercepted by a Libyan coastguard vessel on Tuesday, according to reports.
“You have to sail now towards Tripoli port. You are under custody, sir. If you don’t follow the orders we will target you,” the Libyan captain warned the Spanish crew by radio.
“I have already warned you before, Libyan government has warned you before but you don’t listen. It’s your problem.”
The Spanish ship was eventually allowed to sail away but the confrontation is the most serious since Libya’s coastguard adopted a newly assertive policy several weeks ago.
Three major fake charity groups—Save the Children, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), and Germany’s Sea Eye— have all halted operations because of the threats. Another fake charity, the German Jugend Rettend, had their ship seized by Italian police after it was proved that they were actively communicating with the smugglers to pick up Africans only a few miles off the Libyan coast and transporting them to Europe.
Proactiva Open Arms said it was “deciding whether to continue its operations.” The group said its boat was 26 miles off the Libyan coast when it was intercepted.
Italy’s government is under pressure to reduce the number of invaders landing in Italy and has authorized a naval mission to help the Libyan coastguard stop the invader boats—and return their cargo to the North African shore.
Italy has also demanded that fake charities agree to a code of conduct, which several groups have refused to sign, fearful that their criminal smuggling activities will be exposed.