On 23 November a Libyan patrol boat intercepted approximately 80 Eritrean and Somali migrants in Maltese waters near Sicily. The migrants were returned directly to Libya and reportedly taken to a Libyan detention centre. This may have been the first time that Libyan authorities intercepted migrants in Maltese waters.
The UNHCR expressed concern over the incident. “’This practice of getting the Libyan authorities to come directly [into non-Libyan waters] reduces even further the guarantees given to migrants arriving in Europe,’ said [UNHCR spokesperson Laura] Boldrini.”