35 PEOPLE RESCUED BY EMERGENCY’S SEARCH AND RESCUE SHIP LIFE SUPPORT DISEMBARKED IN LIVORNO
ALBERT MAYORDOMO, PROJECT COORDINATOR ON BOARD: “IT WAS OUR FIRST RESCUE OF A BOAT THAT HAD LEFT FROM CYRENAICA, EASTERN LIBYA, IN A VAST AND POORLY PATROLLED AREA.
LIBYA CAN IN NO WAY BE CONSIDERED A SAFE PLACE.”
Livorno, 3 May 2023 – The disembarkation of 35 people rescued on 29 April by EMERGENCY’s search and rescue ship Life Support in the Maltese SAR zone, was completed this morning at 10:02 a.m. in the port of Livorno, Italy.
“For Life Support, it was our first rescue of a boat that had left from Cyrenaica, eastern Libya, in a vast and poorly patrolled area,” explained Albert Mayordomo, Project Coordinator on board Life Support. “The rescued people were in the middle of nowhere and were lost. Two boats had left Tobruk together, the authorities were aware of the cases but did not intervene. On the contrary, a merchant ship that intervened to intercept one of the two boats returned the people to Libya, which can in no way be considered a safe place for disembarkation following a rescue.”
The people rescued by Life Support had set off from Tobruk, in eastern Libya. When the rescue operations began, they had been at sea for almost four days, adrift and without sufficient supplies of food and water. Because of the distant Place of Safety assigned by the Italian authorities, they were forced to sail for another four unnecessary days before being able to disembark.
“Finally, the 35 people rescued in the central Mediterranean last Saturday have reached land,” commented Ahmed Echi, cultural mediator on board. “I was very moved by a young man who, after the rescue, was shaking and in a state of shock: after almost four days of sailing on the overcrowded and precarious vessel they had left on, he thought he would not make it. But in the four days of navigation it took to get from the rescue site to the port of disembarkation, we saw the people on board start to get better.”
The 35 rescued people, who come from Palestine, Syria and Bangladesh, and include an unaccompanied child, arrive at a time when Europe is questioning human rights recognised under international law. According to the International Organization for Migration, April 2023 was the deadliest month for people crossing the Central Mediterranean since June 2018; 389 people have died or gone missing along the route. European governments must organise search and rescue missions in the Mediterranean, and ensure safe and legal routes for migration.
EMERGENCY’s search and rescue ship Life Support concludes its sixth mission today. At sea since December 2022, it has rescued 654 people.