3 WOMEN AND 1 CHILD AMONG THE 29 PEOPLE RESCUED TODAY BY EMERGENCY’S LIFE SUPPORT VESSEL.
ALBERT MAYORDOMO, HEAD OF MISSION: “ILLEGAL RETURNS OF MIGRANTS TO LIBYA TAKE PLACE IN THESE WATERS. MANY TRAVEL FOR YEARS BEFORE THEY CAN TRY TO REACH A SAFE PLACE.”
DOCTOR ON BOARD: “CHILD WAS AT RISK OF DEHYDRATION AND HYPERTHERMIA. MANY ARE EXHAUSTED FROM THEIR JOURNEY, ALL NEED TO REACH A SAFE PLACE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.”
On Friday 2 June at 11:30am, EMERGENCY’s search and rescue vessel, Life Support, completed the rescue of a boat that had departed from Sabratah, Libya, with 29 people on board, including three women and one child.
“The people on board left at 1:30am last night and had been on their way for almost 10 hours when we began rescue operations,” commented Albert Mayordomo, Life Support’s Head of Mission. “As soon as we approached, we were hit by a very strong smell of gasoline. The canisters on board had spilled: some of those on board were soaked in gasoline and, due to a lack of fuel, the vessel would not have been able to carry on for much longer.”
“During this mission, as in previous ones, we have been indirect witnesses to illegal returns of migrant boats to Libya,” continues Albert Mayordomo. “People have the right to reach a safe place to seek asylum and for no reason should be returned to Libya, a country where migrants suffer very serious human rights violations. Many travel for years before they can try to reach a safe place.”
“The rescued people come from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia and Sudan: places suffering from armed conflict and food insecurity,” says Mohamed Hamdi, Cultural Mediator on board Life Support. “Some have travelled for years to try to reach Europe.”
The vessel was in international waters, in the Libyan search and rescue zone, and had been spotted by the NGO Sea Watch’s aircraft. Life Support was the only rescue vessel in the area.
“The child was very distressed – he was at risk of dehydration and hyperthermia,” says Giovanni Dolci, a doctor on board the ship. “At the time of the rescue, many of those on board were soaked in fuel and salt water, a mixture that can cause chemical burns if exposure is prolonged.”
After concluding rescue operations and informing the authorities, Life Support requested a place of safety (POS) where the rescued people can disembark. The POS of Marina di Carrara was assigned by the Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (MRCC).
Life Support, EMERGENCY’s search and rescue vessel, has been active in the Central Mediterranean, the world’s deadliest migration route, since December 2022. There were at least 983 deaths on this route in 2023 alone. EMERGENCY’s Life Support has rescued 683 people so far.