02/04: a boat coming from Zawiya, carrying 110 people, reached Italian territory

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

<i>Case name</i>: 2021_04_02-CM402

<i>Situation</i>: a boats with 110 travellers, started from Zawiya, Libya and reached Italy

<i>Status of…

<b>Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 2nd of April 2021</b> <i>Case name</i>: 2021_04_02-CM402 <i>Situation</i>: a boats with 110 travellers, started from Zawiya, Libya and reached Italy <i>Status of WTM Investigation</i>:concluded <i>Place of Incident</i>: Central Mediterranean <i>Summary of the Case:</i> In the early morning of April 2nd 2021, Alarm Phone was called by a Thuraya phone. It came from a wooden boat, carrying about 110 people, including 8 women and 4 children. They left Zawiya during the night. Their engine was not working any more and water was entering the boat, while they didn’t have any life vests on board. The people were panicking and asking for help. We alerted authorities and NGO’s at 05:58 CEST and gave them the GPS-Position as well as all additional information we had about the boat. While we didn’t get any response from authorities, we received an updated GPS-position from the people on board, which we then forwarded to authorities and NGO’s. We called the Maltese Coastguard, but they told us they wouldn’t give us any more information and hung up on us. We talked to the people on board again, they were out of fuel and the connection was very bad. Still there was no one coming for their rescue, the only thing they could see was the aircraft Moonbird from the NGO Sea-Watch. Moonbird was observing the scene from the air and also informed authorities about the boat. We recognized a merchant vessel nearby, which was the NORDIC STAR. We dialled different numbers but nobody picked up first. Meanwhile, we couldn’t reach the people on board any more. After a while we were able to reach the captain of the NORDIC STAR. He told us, that he could not go further to the boat without permission so we sent emails to different addresses and explained the situation. In the evening we got a call from an office by the company which NORDIC STAR belongs to. They tried to reach someone who is responsible, but did not put too much effort in it. The people on board were still not reachable any more, even though we tried to call them every hour during the night. The next morning on April 3rd we called RCC Malta, but no one picked up the phone. We called the so-called Libyan Coast Guard and the officer told us, that their vessel Fezzan was carrying out SAR-operations since 7am this morning, but they haven’t found a boat yet. Meanwhile, RCC Malta still didn’t bother to pick up the phone. Moonbird reported the following in a mail to authorities and Alarm Phone in CC. On 2nd April at 11:44 CEST the NORDIC STAR confirmed that a Maltese patrol boat had approached the boat and released them from the scene of the distress case upon arrival, but they couldn’t confirm a rescue operation. Further on they wrote: “From this information, we are concerned that RCC Malta and Armed Forces of Malta were involved in coordinating yet another illegal refoulement of people to Libya. We would however be glad to receive information about the rescue of these people to a port of safety in Malta, which should have happened under international law.” We called the so-called Libyan Coast Guard and RCC Malta again to find out what happened to the boat. RCC Malta refused to give us any information and the so-called Libyan Coast Guard had no information about a boat matching the description of the one we were in contact with. Finally, the Maltese coastguard released a statement about the 110 people in their SAR zone, arguing that the people were never in distress and would have made it safely to Italian territory. Even though we are glad about their apparent rescue, we wonder how people on an overcrowded and unseaworthy boat can be considered as “travelling safely”?! Twitter chronology: https://twitter.com/alarm_phone/status/1377929014027882504/photo/1 https://twitter.com/alarm_phone/status/1377976683584745478 https://twitter.com/alarm_phone/status/1378621172691111938

This post was originally published on Watch the Med.


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» 02/04: a boat coming from Zawiya, carrying 110 people, reached Italian territory | Watch the Med | Refugee Watch | https://www.refugee.watch/2021/04/03/02-04-a-boat-coming-from-zawiya-carrying-110-people-reached-italian-territory/ | 2022-10-02T03:56:30+00:00
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