Start of activities
23 November 2023
21 Rescued People Disembark in Marina di Carrara
After more than 72 hours of navigation in poor weather conditions and heavy seas, the 21 people rescued earlier this week have disembarked at the port of Marina di Carrara.
“There is no reason to assign such distant ports, forcing already fragile people to stay at sea even longer,” comments Emanuele, Head of Mission. “This also distances the ships of the civil fleet from the places where their presence is needed and where shipwrecks continue to occur.”
20 November 2023
21 People Rescued on Mission 15
This morning, Life Support rescued 21 people in distress in the Mediterranean, in the Maltese search and rescue zone. Among the rescued was an unaccompanied child.
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18 November 2023
A. wants to work as a humanitarian.
Because of war, A. had to leave his home in Syria in 2017.
Standing on the deck of Life Support, he told us, “There is a lot of instability in Syria, it’s really dangerous. You can be kidnapped or killed at any time, for no reason.”
He lived in Sudan and then Lebanon, but was unable to earn a living: “I worked for the Red Cross and Red Crescent, it was a job I was very passionate about but I had to leave Lebanon because of the economic crisis that has affected the country in recent years.”
Then, A. told us, he went to Libya where, he was discriminated against every day because he was a foreigner. So he made the extreme decision: to take a boat to Europe.
From that boat, we brought him to safety on board our ship. Now that he has arrived in Europe, his biggest dream is “to be able to work again in the humanitarian field. To help people.”
14 November 2023
F.L. Dreams of a Better Life
“I am from Tigray, Ethiopia. I fled my country because of the war.
For more than a year in my region there has been an obligation for at least one family member, including women, to enlist – otherwise you are killed.
Only my mother and I are left in my family. She told me to leave before the militia came looking for me. I first ran away to Addis Ababa, but there I could not study or work…
If they had found out I was from Tigray they would have imprisoned me and sent me back. So I fled to Sudan and then to Libya, where I spent eight months in prison.
Sometimes they would hang us by our feet and beat us with pipes, calling our families so they would hear our screams and send the ransom money faster.
My mother had to sell her flat to free me. I just want to live a life of dignity and freedom.”
F.L., 21, rescued in November 2023
11 November 2023
Finally safe in Brindisi, Italy
When we rescued them between 8 and 9 November, they were trying to cross the Mediterranean on fragile and overloaded boats, facing a sea with 3-metre high waves.
Now those 118 people are finally safe in Brindisi, Italy, where they disembarked this morning.
“All the rescued people are well, they are certainly exhausted by the journey. Among them there are some very sensitive cases of people who have suffered violence and torture in Libya that we hope will be taken care of by the local authorities,” explains Emanuele Nannini, Head of Mission.
In the coming days, Life Support will prepare for its next mission, which we hope will begin in the middle of next week.”
9 November 2023
118 People Rescued in Two Operations
Between 8 and 9 November, Life Support rescued 118 people in two operations, including four unaccompanied children.
“Adverse weather conditions made the rescues very complex. During the second rescue there were about three-metre waves,” reports Emanuele Nannini, Head of Mission. Both operations were carried out in international waters in the Maltese SAR Zone.
We were alerted to the status and coordinates of the first distress case by Alarm Phone. The 10-metre wooden vessel was carrying 77 people, had almost run out of fuel and started taking on water. The second case was reported by the Italian MRCC and several commercial vessels that spotted the boat at dawn. The small fibreglass boat had several cracks and took on more water with every wave; the 41 people on board were constantly emptying the hull with buckets.
According to our rescue team, both boats were at immediate risk of capsizing. None of the rescued people were wearing life jackets before the arrival of Life Support.
We are now heading for the port of Brindisi, the Place of Safety assigned by the Italian MRCC.
12 October 2023
“I just want to live in peace and freedom.”
I., a 27-year-old man from Syria, told us this on board Life Support. He was one of 69 people rescued by the ship in October.
He left his country, he says, “because of the difficult living conditions and political situation. Because of the war, when a young man comes of age he is obliged to serve in the army for several years, usually ten.”
Life Support Mission 13 Archive Photo
“I left because I did not want to become a soldier, I wanted to finish my studies in law. It was not easy to get here and I am sure there will be more difficulties once I arrive in Europe, but I am determined and I do not want to lose hope. I just want to support my family as much as I can and repay Europe for its welcome.”
10 October 2023
Rescued People Disembark in Livorno
The 69 people rescued over the weekend disembarked in Livorno this evening.
“Unfortunately, sailing to Livorno took us several extra days, delaying our presence in the Mediterranean,” says Emanuele Nannini, Head of Mission.
All of the rescued people came from countries suffering from violence, political and economic instability, and environmental disasters. Among them were six women and 17 children, 11 of whom were unaccompanied.
“Although there were many different cultures, lifestyles and personal stories on board, everyone got along very well and we spent the days sailing in an environment of solidarity and friendship,” said Giulia Galati, Cultural Mediator on board. “I felt this from the moment we carried out the second rescue, when I saw that the people from the previous rescue were hugging and helping those who had just arrived.”
8 October 2023
69 People Rescued in 3 Missions
Between 7 and 8 October, Life Support rescued 69 people in three separate missions.
After the first rescue of 21 people on the evening of 7 October, Livorno was assigned as the Place of Safety. En route to Livorno, the Italian MRCC coordinated two more rescues on the morning of 8 October.
“Among them, there is a four-year-old girl who was born with a disability. Fortunately, she is accompanied by her parents,” says Roberto, the Health Coordinator on board.
After the third rescue, we resumed heading toward Livorno but have made ourselves available to the authorities for further rescues. “We continue to monitor the surrounding waters in case there are other boats in difficulty,” explains Emanuele, Head of Mission.
We will continue to do our part to help those in need.
25 September 2023
28 People Rescued by Life Support Disembark in Ravenna
After four days and 740 nautical miles of navigation, the 28 people rescued by Life Support have finally disembarked.
We had to travel all the way to Ravenna, in the northeast of Italy – a port four days away from the rescue site, with the last two spent in rough sea conditions.
The justification given for this port assignment was not to burden the operations of other Italian ports, despite only 28 rescued people on board.
The practise of assigning distant ports is keeping civil rescue ships away from the Mediterranean, the deadliest migration route in the world.
25 September 2023
Update from Emanuele, Head of Mission
— EMERGENCY NGO (@emergency_ngo) September 25, 2023
21 September 2023
28 People Rescued by Life Support
28 people rescued by Life Support in the international waters of the Maltese SAR zone. Among the rescued are nine women and eight children, one of whom is unaccompanied. They come from Syria, Libya and Egypt.
“I never knew what freedom was, ever,” says a 42-year-old Syrian man. “Three months ago, I left because I could no longer find enough work to provide for my loved ones. I had to find a solution. Since I’ve been on board I have understood for the first time what it means to feel free.”
7 September 2023
F. left Egypt to feed his family.
“I left Egypt because life there had become untenable: I couldn’t find work, everything is too expensive, it was difficult even to afford food. Sometimes I couldn’t even buy bread for my brothers and sisters… Is that living?”
F. left Egypt so that he could feed his family. “It is my responsibility,” said the 26-year-old.
He lived in Libya for three months. “Enough time for me to see horrible things.”
“I was imprisoned along with other Egyptians,” he told us. “They kept us in a very small house, treated us like animals. They beat us every day, sometimes for no reason, sometimes to get our family members to send them more money. It was terrible.”
When he saw Life Support, F. recounts, “I thought you were Libyans. I was going to jump into the sea, I would have rather drowned than return to prison in Libya. I still can’t believe I was brought to safety.”
2 September 2023
N. left Syria for her son’s future.
“Sometimes, while we were in Libya, I thought about going back. We were living in poor hygienic conditions, especially for such a small child, who needs constant attention. But the only chance we had to give him a better life was across the sea.”
As she told us her story on the deck of Life Support, N. held her son in her arms. He is just 7 months old.
“We had to sell the family home,” she continued. “Only my husband stayed in Syria, taking care of his parents. They are elderly and cannot move.”
Now, on land, she hopes to reach her brother in Germany and give her son a better future, away from war.
23 August 2023
Today, A. and the other rescued people disembarked in Ortona, Italy.
“I wanted to go back to Sudan, to see my family, but the situation there had only gotten worse,” explains A.F., 30. He is one of 40 people rescued by Life Support during its latest mission in the Mediterranean.
A. comes from Darfur, a region in Sudan that has experienced war, famine, floods and epidemics. Today, it is one of the areas most affected by ongoing fighting in the country: yesterday, a rocket fell into the garden of our Paediatric Centre in Nyala, fortunately without doing any damage.
“Before I left, years ago, some of my friends and family were killed. But I suffered in Libya, there was strong racial discrimination. So I tried to cross the Mediterranean.”
A. was a victim of refoulement – illegal push-backs at sea. He was imprisoned for several months in Libya, and was only able to embark again after paying a ransom.
19 August 2023
40 People Rescued
EMERGENCY’s search and rescue ship Life Support rescued 40 men and boys in international waters. They had set off from Khoms, Libya, in a fibreglass boat.
“We have just completed the rescue of 40 people in international waters, they are now all safe on board,” says Carlo Maisano, Head of Mission
The rescued people come from Bangladesh, Egypt, Pakistan, Syria and Sudan, and all seem to be in relatively good health. Life Support is now on its way to its assigned Place of Safety, Ortona.
This page shows updates from Life Support‘s latest missions. For updates from Life Support‘s previous missions, please see the archived update page for missions 1 through 10, which rescued 943 people.