The Egyptian consulate in Benghazi is holding talks with Libyan authorities in an attempt to secure the release of two Egyptian fishing boats detained in Benghazi two days ago. The two vessels, Abu Tarek and Abu Shawki, were caught fishing illegally in Libyan waters. Approximately 30 sailors were detained.
According to state-owned news agency Al-Ahram the consulate sent a committee to visit the detained sailors.
The Egyptian ambassador said in a statement on Sunday that Egyptian fishermen are complicating the situation by repeatedly entering Libyan waters. Despite previous successes in freeing detained fishermen, repeated violations, often by the same ships and crew, have led to the stringent enforcement of the law by Libyan authorities which the ambassador said has made it more difficult for the embassy to intervene, Al-Ahram reported.
Egyptian fishermen are frequently found fishing illegally in regional waters. Fishermen brave the trip to countries such as Libya, Tunisia and Italy because there are too many boats and too little to catch in Egyptian waters.
Libya deported seven Egyptians and Syrians on Sunday, Al-Ahram announced. Those deported were found to have visa irregularities and were subsequently sent back to Egypt on a private plane.
Hundreds of Egyptians have been deported from Libya over the past six months, mostly due to visa irregularities and a lack of work permits. Some of those deported are Copts accused of proselytising, a crime punishable by death in Libya.