On August 22nd, at sunset, the Mare Jonio left the port of Licata to return to the central Mediterranean to monitor and report human rights violations, and where there are people in danger, to save lives.
Our ship had been impounded for more than two months after saving 30 women, men and children this past May. Now back in our hands, the ship is returning to where it needs to be. Reports continue to emerge of terrible shipwrecks of individuals fleeing war, bombs, and torture in Libyan detention camps. Currently, 350 survivors are on board the Ocean Viking waiting for a safe haven.
Aboard the Mare Jonio and an additional support boat are mission coordinator Luca Casarini and 22 crew members. They are doing everything in their power to guarantee a safe and successful mission. Among those aboard are Cecilia Strada and the writer Caterina Bonvicini.
The NGO Lifeline is out at sea with us, supporting this mission with their own sailboat. Ships of European civil society continue to defend international laws and human rights by opposing the arbitrary and violent policies of their government counterparts. This resistance is our beacon, the compass that guides our actions and that will guide our decisions in the days ahead.
We have experienced several challenging months, a long and difficult time in which the recently resigned Italian government has done anything it can to stop us. We have tirelessly persisted, by any means necessary, in order to rescue 59 war refugees stranded on a sail boat.
We have always brought those we rescued to the nearest safe harbor, which has legally coincided with the island of Lampedusa, a place that has become the final frontier of a sea at war. Lampedusa has maintained extraordinary dignity and we are thankful for the island and its citizens.
The hope, the humanity, the peace of mind of being on the right side of history, have brought us here, together. You are all on board with us!
Fair Winds, Mare Jonio!