There is still no sign of the boat in distress in the Maltese SAR area that EMERGENCY’s Life Support vessel was going to rescue.
The boat in distress, which had been in contact with the NGO Alarm Phone for two days, had 500 people on board, including at least 45 women, some of them pregnant, and 56 children, one of whom was born during the voyage. The details were communicated by the boat’s passengers to Alarm Phone by satellite phone.
As required by maritime conventions, EMERGENCY asked the relevant authorities in Malta and Italy to coordinate the rescue effort, but the authorities refused to share any information.
EMERGENCY’s Life Support immediately headed towards the boat’s location to bring shipwrecked people to safety and carried out an active 24-hour search, but since yesterday afternoon, 24 May, there has been no contact from those on board and no trace of the vessel has been found. The NGO Sea Watch yesterday carried out a search on two consecutive days with its aircraft, Sea Bird, without finding any clues as to the vessel’s location. Neither Life Support nor Ocean Viking, which patrolled the area, found any signs of shipwreck. Therefore, and given the deteriorating weather, we will be forced to move to another area if we do not find the boat in the next few hours.
“We are currently in the Eastern Mediterranean. We will continue search operations in this area until this evening, with lookout activities on the bridge, then due to the worsening weather conditions we will move to international waters, to the Libyan search and rescue area,” comments Albert Mayordomo, Head of Mission on board Life Support.
One hypothesis could be that the engine has started working again and the boat is sailing towards Sicily, but we have no evidence of this.