Aid workers from Germany freed by Libyan coastguards

Libyan Navy said the vessel had entered Libyan waters, and while the aid workers tried to flee, warning shots were fired. (File Photo: AP)

Two migrant aid workers from Germany who were held by Libyan coastguards have been freed, the group Sea Eye said on Wednesday, adding that the circumstances of their arrest remain unclear. The two were released late Monday, said Hans-Peter Buschheuer, spokesman for the humanitarian group that rescues migrants at sea who are trying to reach Europe from North Africa.

Libya's navy had said the group's vessel, Speedy, had entered Libyan waters, and that the aid workers had sought to flee but stopped after warning shots were fired. It later said the two men admitted falling asleep before realizing they were no longer in international waters.

"We have no written proof of the original location at the time of the arrest because Speedy was also taken and is still in Libya," he said. "But close to where the arrest took place, there were other NGOs from different countries... who saw the event and can attest that we were outside the 12-mile zone -- that is, we were in international waters," he said.

Sea Eye is now working on securing the release of the ship, he said.

"We are working with the help of the German embassy in Libya to obtain the release of the ship," said Buschheuer. "If that fails, then we would have to file a suit. The ship is worth 110,000 euros ($120,000) and an important part of our future rescues."

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:48 - GMT 06:48