MAY 2022

It makes a difference: a Diary of Rescue Coordination by Civil Actors in the Central Mediterranean Sea

May was a very busy month for Alarm Phone (AP) and the Civil Fleet. AP has been alerted by 59 boats departing Libya. One boat contacting AP was on its way from Turkey to Sicily. We know about 112 boats in total that left from Libya. 12 of the boats AP was in contact with were illegally intercepted by the EU funded so-called Libyan Coast Guard (LCG). We know of 26 more push-backs to Libya, two of them by the SSA, a Libyan militia, and of one to Tunisia.

NGO vessels (Sea Eye 4, Geo Barents, Ocean Viking, Astral and Nadir) rescued 14 of the boats which alerted AP and two more boats in distress. In one case, a transshipment from a merchant vessel, which had rescued 34 people, to the Sea Eye 4 took place. One boat from Benghazi was rescued by the Italian Coastguard, another one was monitored by a merchant vessel and finally brought to Malta. A boat that had left from Tobruk was rescued to Greece. Eight boats that alerted us arrived in Lampedusa.

In total, we heard about 18 boats from Libya and 35 boats from Tunisia that reached this island autonomously in May. One boat which was in contact with us shipwrecked and one person died, 75 went missing. In total, we learned about 35 deaths and 186 people going missing on the way from Tunisia and Libya towards Italy in 3 different shipwrecks.

6 May Alarm Phone gets contacted by 34ppl in distress and alerts the competent authorities (1).
8 May Two days after Alarm Phone alerted for 34ppl in distress off Libya, the people have been rescued by a merchant Vessel and later on the 9th of May transshipped onto the NGO vessel Sea-Eye 4 (Sea Eye) (2).
9 May Geo Barents (MSF) finds and rescues 2 overcrowded rubber boats (204ppl) of which one called Alarm Phone
10 May After 3 more alerts from Alarm Phone and with aerial support of Pilotes Volontaires, Geo Barents rescues 171ppl from 3 different boats (3).
11 May The plane of Pilotes Volontaires finds a boat with 67ppl in distress and guided Geo Barents to the spot to rescue
12 May Alarm Phone forwards a distress call from 29ppl in an unseaworthy wooden boat and Geo Barents rescues the group. With 470 survivors on board GB heads towards Sicily to bring the people to safety.
13 May In a cooperation with a Merchant Vessel, Sea Eye 4 rescues 24 people fleeing Libya after an Alarm Phone alert. The people were at sea for several days already.
19 May The crew of Ocean Viking (SOS Mediterranée) rescues 158 survivors from 2 unseaworthy & overloaded rubber boats in the Libyan Search & Rescue Region. Alarm Phone has been called by the travelers before.
22 May Nadir (ResQShip) found 75ppl on a rubber boat after Alarm Phone informed them. They could stabilize the boat and take care of the people until Ocean Viking arrived and took the people on board.
24 May The sailing vessel Astral (Open Arms) followed an alert of Alarm Phone and took care of 110ppl in distress.
25 May The two sailing vessels Nadir and Astral rescued 110ppl in a joint operation. Alarm Phone informed them about the distress case (4) – case detailed on p.9
28 May The merchant vessel Antigone rescues 8ppl which fled Eastern Libya and called the Alarm Phone.
30 May Nadir assisted a boat in distress, alerted by Alarm Phone until the new speed boat Aurora (Sea Watch) arrived and performed its first rescue of 86ppl.

Echoes#1 – July 2022