“THE ENGINE BROKE DOWN. I WAS PANICKING BUT I WOULD NEVER GO BACK BECAUSE IN LIBYA YOU RISK YOUR LIFE EVERY DAY.”
“THE FATHER OF MY SON IS STILL IN LIBYA. WE WANTED TO RESCUE OUR LITTLE ONE FROM THAT HELL, BUT WE DIDN’T HAVE THE MONEY TO PAY FOR THREE. HE SACRIFICED HIMSELF. NOW I AM AFRAID WE WILL NEVER SEE EACH OTHER AGAIN.”
ALBERT MAYORDOMO, LIFE SUPPORT HEAD OF MISSION: “THEY ASSIGNED US A PORT 70 HOURS AWAY FROM THE RESCUE SITE: SHAMEFUL TO PUNISH THOSE WHO ONLY WANT TO SAVE LIVES.”
EMERGENCY’s search and rescue ship Life Support has disembarked the 29 people rescued in international waters, from the Libyan search and rescue area, at the Taliercio quay in the port of Marina di Carrara, Italy. Among the rescued are three women and a two-year-old child.
“The father of my son is now in Libya,” says a 22-year-old woman from Eritrea who was rescued together with her two-year-old son. “We wanted to rescue little N. from that hell, but we did not have the money to pay for three people to take the trip. We told ourselves that our son should study and not live in a country where people are killed in the streets. My love sacrificed himself. Now I am afraid we will never see each other again.”
“At the moment of departure, we all felt a sense of hope. There were two engines on the boat. We had been told that the lights of the oil rigs were Italy and so to all of us it seemed like an easy journey. Instead, a few hours after departure, the first engine broke down,” says an 18-year-old Gambian boy. “There was only one left and we were not even halfway through the journey. I was panicking but I would never go back because in Libya you risk your life every day.”
The rescued people had set off from Sabratah, Libya, on the night of 1 June and were rescued by Life Support on 2 June; they arrived ashore after four days at sea.
“The Italian government assigned us a port 662 miles and about 70 hours of navigation away from the rescue site,” says Albert Mayordomo, Life Support’s Head of Mission. “It is a political choice: it is absurd to punish those who save lives on the world’s deadliest migratory route, the Central Mediterranean. In 2023 alone, an average of almost 7 people have died here every day, and more than 5,000 people have been taken back to Libyan camps by the so-called Libyan coast guard.”
At sea since December 2022, EMERGENCY’s Life Support has rescued 683 people.