Three aid groups have now stopped their staff sailing in the Mediterranean after they were threatened and fired upon by the Libyan coastguard.
Save the Children and Germany’s Sea Eye said on Sunday their crews could no longer work safely because of the hostile stance of the Libyan authorities.
Doctors Without Borders – or Medecins sans Frontieres – announced on Saturday it would halt Mediterranean rescue operations.
NGO crews have spent months rescuing desperate migrants packed onto dangerous rubber rafts and dangerous wooden vessels.
With thousands of people attempting to reach Europe every day – and the number of rescue vessels quickly declining – mass death is expected.
More than 2,000 of those trying to cross have died in 2017 alone, according to some estimates.
But the European Union decided to back the corrupt Libyan coastguard which has repeatedly been accused of being in cahoots with people smugglers.
The EU has failed to find an adequate solution to the thousands of people running from tragedy in war torn Libya – and instead has chosen to support trapping them there.
Sea Eye’s founder Michael Busch Heuer said a “deadly gap” is being left in the Mediterranean.
Almost 600,000 migrants have arrived in Italy over the past four years but EU countries have refused to share the burden, especially in the east of the bloc.
Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said in a newspaper interview on Sunday that Libya’s growing role in controlling its waters was curbing people trafficking and producing a welcome “readjustment” in the Mediterranean.
MSF’s decision to halt its rescue operations was part of this positive process, he told daily La Stampa.
Save the Children said its rescue ship, the Vos Hestia, would dock in Malta until it received assurances about the intentions of the Libyan authorities.
Libya was trying to increase the range of the waters its ships controlled from 12 nautical miles around its coast to 70 nautical miles, the humanitarian organisation said.