At 8:40PM on September 2, shortly after disembarking the last 31 shipwreck survivors still aboard the Mare Jonio, our ship entered Italian waters, after being authorized by the Maritime Authority to start the procedure to enter the harbour in Lampedusa.
Strangely enough, that same day, late at night, our captain and our shipowner were notified of the administrative seizure of the Mare Jonio, as well as of a 300,000 euro fine for violating the Security Degree Bis. One last blow from those who could not accept that a story of humanity and justice had come to a rightful happy ending.
If landing a last blow was their intention, those who have commited this last gratuitous and tasteless act of cruelty will still have to accept their failure. In our eyes, as in those of the country, the Mar Jonio will still be the children’s ship, the ship that arrived just in time, the ship that rescued 98 people from dying at sea. These people’s strength, their smile, their future is what counts for us.
We will go back where our work is needed, as we did each time, and the situation we are experiencing is so obviously, painfully paradoxical it almost causes us to feel pity for those who put us in this position. Those who have decided to stop the Mare Jonio once more will have to bear the weight of responsibility — one among many — of keeping a ship out of sea for days or weeks, unable to rescue those who are risking their lives, right now.
Children’s lives, like the ones we rescued and welcomed with a hug, will weigh heavily on his conscience — ours, on the other hand, is safe in the knowledge that what we did was worth it all along.
Mediterranea Saving Humans has saved 237 lives in 2019. Our ship has become a symbol for the “other” Italy, for the part of the country that is not afraid, for those who won’t be fooled and who managed, despite everything, to keep an open heart and soul, remembering that it is not by denying the value of every single life that you will obtain more rights for all.
You either save everyone, yourself included, or nobody.