Aside from the harsh weather conditions people trying to flee the country race against the Libyan Coast Guard, which has been trained and equipped by Europe to keep migrants away from its shores.
Migrants and refugees from different African nationalities wait for assistance aboard an overcrowded wooden boat, Feb. 12, 2021.
In the last few days alone the Libyans had thwarted eight rescue attempts by the Open Arms, a Spanish NGO rescue vessel, harassing and threatening its crew in the international waters of the central Mediterranean where 160 people have died so far this year.
Sandrine, 33, from Cameroon, holds her 3-month-old son Moise moments before leaving the Spanish NGO Open Arms rescue vessel in the Sicilian port of Empedocle, Italy, Feb. 16, 2021.
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