02/04: 100 people coming from Zuwara, Libya, were rescued to Lampedusa by Italian Coastguard after long non-assistance

<b>Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 2nd of April 2021</b>

<i>Case name</i>: 2021_04_02-CM403

<i>Situation</i>: 100 people started on 1st from Zuwara, Libya, and called Alarm Phone when they were in Maltese SAR zone, RCC Malta denied responsibility the whole time until travellers reached Italian SAR zone, the Italian Coastguard brought them to Lampedusa on 3rd April

<i>Status of WTM Investigation</i>: Concluded

<i>Place of Incident</i>: Central Mediterranean

<i>Summary of the Case:</i>

On 2nd April 2021 around 8h CEST the Alarm Phone hotline was called by a group of migrants. The people stated to have left Zuwara, Libya, the day before in the very morning. They said to be around 100 people on the wooden boat, among them women and children, and that the boat is moving only slowly. They passed a GPS position to us which was still located in international waters. At around 9h we informed authorities in Libya, Italy and Malta as well the NGO Sea-Watch whos monitoring aircraft Moonbird was active. Additionally we informed Tunisian authorities and made the case public on Twitter short before 10h. When we spoke to the travellers again at 10:25h they reported that the water was rough and the waves high. The received GPS position were sent to all competent actors later on. One hour later this procedure repeated and the boat now was in Maltese Search and Rescue zone. But for Maltese authorities this fact doesn‘t mean anything. In the end they stayed silent the whole time. That‘s why Alarm Phone speak in it‘s tweet about the so-called Maltese Coastguard.

At 13:12h the monitoring aircraft Moonbird shared their observations with Alarm Phone and the authorities: They spotted the grey wooden boat with approximately 100 people on it. The two engines were off, so the boat adrift. Both Moonbird and Alarm Phone informed the authorities in the next 24 hours constantly about the location and the situation of the travellers. At 17:20h Moonbird wrote: „The boat clearly seems unable to navigate. Waves and wind have increased. The boat is in no condition to reach a safe port on its own and needs immediate assistance.“ At this time the travellers screamed in the telephone that they will die very soon. Also different merchant vessels appeared from afternoon to night in vicinity to the boat or only less miles away. But non of them supported the travellers, they not even brought life vests or water to them. When we called MRCC Rome at 23:35h they stated to be not responsible for the situation and referred to RCC Malta.

In the morning of 3rd April the travellers were suddenly not reachable and we were very worried. One and a half hour later we were in contact again and received a new GPS position which we forwarded as usual to all non-acting authorities. At 11h Moonbird overflied the scene again and urged the coastguards to act. According to the travellers some of them collapsed around 13h. At 14:45h we received a GPS position which was finally located in Italian Search and Rescue zone and therefor Italy couldn’t hide behind the responsibility of Malta. At around 17h we received the relieving information that the Italian Coastguard had rescued the travellers. More than 24 hours after the first alert. Those plays with the lives of people have to end.

<b>Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 2nd of April 2021</b> <i>Case name</i>: 2021_04_02-CM403 <i>Situation</i>: 100 people started on 1st from Zuwara, Libya, and called Alarm Phone when they were in Maltese SAR zone, RCC Malta denied responsibility the whole time until travellers reached Italian SAR zone, the Italian Coastguard brought them to Lampedusa on 3rd April <i>Status of WTM Investigation</i>: Concluded <i>Place of Incident</i>: Central Mediterranean <i>Summary of the Case:</i> On 2nd April 2021 around 8h CEST the Alarm Phone hotline was called by a group of migrants. The people stated to have left Zuwara, Libya, the day before in the very morning. They said to be around 100 people on the wooden boat, among them women and children, and that the boat is moving only slowly. They passed a GPS position to us which was still located in international waters. At around 9h we informed authorities in Libya, Italy and Malta as well the NGO Sea-Watch whos monitoring aircraft Moonbird was active. Additionally we informed Tunisian authorities and made the case public on Twitter short before 10h. When we spoke to the travellers again at 10:25h they reported that the water was rough and the waves high. The received GPS position were sent to all competent actors later on. One hour later this procedure repeated and the boat now was in Maltese Search and Rescue zone. But for Maltese authorities this fact doesn‘t mean anything. In the end they stayed silent the whole time. That‘s why Alarm Phone speak in it‘s tweet about the so-called Maltese Coastguard. At 13:12h the monitoring aircraft Moonbird shared their observations with Alarm Phone and the authorities: They spotted the grey wooden boat with approximately 100 people on it. The two engines were off, so the boat adrift. Both Moonbird and Alarm Phone informed the authorities in the next 24 hours constantly about the location and the situation of the travellers. At 17:20h Moonbird wrote: „The boat clearly seems unable to navigate. Waves and wind have increased. The boat is in no condition to reach a safe port on its own and needs immediate assistance.“ At this time the travellers screamed in the telephone that they will die very soon. Also different merchant vessels appeared from afternoon to night in vicinity to the boat or only less miles away. But non of them supported the travellers, they not even brought life vests or water to them. When we called MRCC Rome at 23:35h they stated to be not responsible for the situation and referred to RCC Malta. In the morning of 3rd April the travellers were suddenly not reachable and we were very worried. One and a half hour later we were in contact again and received a new GPS position which we forwarded as usual to all non-acting authorities. At 11h Moonbird overflied the scene again and urged the coastguards to act. According to the travellers some of them collapsed around 13h. At 14:45h we received a GPS position which was finally located in Italian Search and Rescue zone and therefor Italy couldn't hide behind the responsibility of Malta. At around 17h we received the relieving information that the Italian Coastguard had rescued the travellers. More than 24 hours after the first alert. Those plays with the lives of people have to end.

This post was originally published on Watch the Med.


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