At noon yesterday we were buzzed by an Italian navy helicopter, then circled at dusk by a Libyan coast guard patrol boat.

Libyan patrol boat approaches

After the outpouring of refugee rafts from Libya a fortnight ago everyone is perplexed by their absence over this last week. The experts tell me this is almost unheard of. Something is happening ashore, but what? There are so many actors in this play – EU/Frontex, the Italian government, the Libyan coast guard, smugglers, loony Identitarians, the Libyan government, Hadtar/NLA in Benghazi – and for me the politics are unfathomable. We NGO rescue vessels are the meat in a very complex sandwich.
Sunset last night was superb. Now it is 3 am and on the bridge all is quiet. With our Dutch captain, Canary Islands mate, German engineer and we two volunteers (Castilian and Australian), the polyglottery is charming and the conversations far-ranging. The sea is calm, the moon full and shore lights dip on the Libyan coast. It would be achingly peaceful here, were it not for intrusive thoughts of those hundreds of thousands of poor folk being tortured, raped enslaved, imprisoned, and otherwise brutalised just 24 miles away, as I write.

2 thoughts on “Conundrum

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