Libya’s coastguard rescued around 350 migrants and returned them to Tripoli on Wednesday (May 10), after an altercation with a non-governmental organisation (NGO) ship.
Libyan Navy Colonel, Abo Ageela Abdelbary told Reuters that the group, which included migrants from Tunisia, Morocco, Syria, Egypt and Bangladesh, were intercepted approximately 17 miles north of the city Sabratha.
Earlier in the day footage released by Sea-Watch, an NGO, showed a Libyan coastguard vessel coming within metres of its own ship as it sped to stop the group of migrants who were packed onto a wooden boat.
Migrants on board said they had left the western Libyan city of Sabratha on Tuesday (May 9) night.
Libya is the main departure point for migrants hoping to reach Europe by sea. The country has been in turmoil for years and migrants living there or passing through say they are subject to a range of abuses. A record 181,000 made the trip in 2016 and arrivals in Italy so far this year are up 30 percent.