[WATCH] Spanish NGO hits out at Libyan coast guard for abandoning woman at sea

Shocking footage posted by the NGO Proactiva Open Arms shows the lifeless bodies of a woman and child which they say were abandoned by the Libyan coast guard • The NGO also said it recovered another woman who was alive from the same wreckage

Proactiva Open Arms denounced the Libyan coastguard abandoning a live woman as well as the lifeless bodies of another woman and a child, at sea
Proactiva Open Arms denounced the Libyan coastguard abandoning a live woman as well as the lifeless bodies of another woman and a child, at sea
Shocking footage distributed by Pro Active Open Arms of migrant wreckage

The Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms said it has rescued a woman from the wreckage of a vessel after she was abandoned at sea by the Libyan coast guard.

The group also said that it recovered two lifeless bodies of another woman and a child, which it said the Libyan coast guard had also abandoned at sea.

“We have located the cadavers of a woman and a child, as well as a live woman and a destroyed vessel 80 miles from Libya, which were abandoned by the so-called Libyan coastguard,” the NGO said this afternoon on Twitter. “We denounce the flagrant omission of relief.”

It said that the bodies were abandoned by the Libyan coastguard that Italy had legitimised and placed on the front line of sea rescues. “Every death is a direct consequence of that policy.”

"The Libyan coastguard announced that it had intercepted a boat with 158 people on board and provided medical and humanitarian assistance. What they did not say was that they left two women and a child on board and sank the ship because they did not want to on the Libyan patrol," the NGO said.

READ MORE: Lifeline captain's sea licence was for coastal waters, court hears

The NGO was referring to the emphasis made by the EU in the last summit of leaders to allow the Libyan coastguard to carry out its duty. The decision was taken in the wake of the case involving the Lifeline, operated by a German NGO, which was accused of disobeying orders when it took on board migrants despite being informed that the Libyan coast guard was on its way.

The Open Arms and Astral, two vessels operated by the Spanish NGO, returned to the Libyan search and rescue area on Sunday after leaving their base in Spain.

Italy and Malta have both closed their ports to NGO-operated vessels after Italy’s new populist government said that it would no longer allow rescued migrants to disembark in its ports.

READ MORE: Lifeline standoff: Ship to dock in Malta as Joseph Muscat announces migrant distribution deal with other EU countries

Reacting to the NGO's claim, Italian Home Affairs minister Matteo Salvini, who has been the driving force behind Italy's policy change, accused Proactiva Open Arms of lying.

"The lies and insults by some foreign NGOs confirm that we are right: reducing departures and landings means reducing the dead, and reducing the profit of those who speculate on illegal immigration. I will stand firm," wrote Salvini, adding the hashtags closed ports and open hearts to his tweet.

More in Europe

Get access to the real stories first with the digital edition

Subscribe