Italian government sources stated that two military ships were escorting boats belonging to the Italian fishermen released by the eastern-Libyan authorities on Thursday.
The fishermen are expected to arrive at the port of Mazara del Vallo on Sunday, according to the Italian news agency AKI.
On Thursday, the Italian Foreign Minister, Luigi Di Maio, said that authorities agreed to release a group of eighteen fishermen after more than 100 days in prison. “Our fishermen are free. In a few hours they will be able to hug their families and loved ones again,” Di Maio stated.
“Thanks to AISE (Italian External Intelligence) and to all the diplomatic corps who worked to bring them back home,” he added.
On 1 September, the Libyan National Army (LNA) arrested the fishermen for illegally entering Libyan waters. In 2015, four young Libyans in Sicily were sentenced by the magistrates of Catania to 30 years in prison. They were accused of organising a crossing from Libya, in which 49 migrants died. Libya was seeking a prisoner swap with the Italian government.