Italy’s coastguards demand NGOs to contact Libyan coastguards for distress calls

Even as I write this, ships from European navies and NGOs are working to locate and rescue migrants migrating from the global South to Europe. [Doomstead Diner]
As Italy’s new populist government cracked down on foreign NGO boats operating in the Mediterranean Saturday the Italian coastguard has followed suit telling boats in Libyan waters to “turn to” Libya when in distress.
According to the Italian media the national coastguard sent a message to rescue boats operating in the Mediterranean advising them that Italy would no longer be their first point of reference.
“From now on, under the Solas Convention (Safety of life at Sea), captains who are at sea in the area in front of Libya will have to turn to the Tripoli Centre and the Libyan Coast Guard for help.”
The announcement came as Italy and Malta once again locked horns over who should take charge of a German NGO boat, carrying over 200 migrants, currently stranded in the Mediterranean. Both countries have staunchly refuse to let the ship into their ports.
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