News (EN)

The “Mare Jonio” rescued 49 people from a shipwreck: now Italy must indicate a safe haven!

The “Mare Jonio” rescued 49 people from a shipwreck: now Italy must indicate a safe haven!

The “Mare Jonio,” a ship flying an Italian flag and run by “Mediterranea Saving Humans,” has rescued 49 people on a rubber boat in distress while engaged in a monitoring mission in the Central Mediterranean, 42 miles off the Libyan coast. The warning, alerting to a boat adrift in international waters, came from the spotter plane “Moonbird,” run by the NGO “Sea Watch.”
The “Mare Jonio” headed toward the reported position. After informing the Italian Coast Guard it has performed the rescue according to international human rights law, maritime law, and the Italian navigation code.
Complying with the established procedures for such cases and with the aim to avoid a tragedy, the “Mare Jonio” has rescued all the people on board. It has reported to have finalized the rescue to a Libyan vessel that arrived on site while the operation was ongoing. 12 among the rescued people turned out to be minors.
People on board were at sea for almost two days, and although health conditions seem quite stable they are all exhausted and with problems of dehydration. The medical staff aboard the “Mare Jonio” is taking care of them. continua

News (EN)

Mediterranea, getting ready to ‘save humans’

By InfoMigrants, Patrizio Nissirio.

Mediterranea is a mission that aims above all to show solidarity with migrants braving the Mediterranean and against European governments’ policies towards them. The Mare Jonio ship, the flagship of the project, and its crew are nevertheless prepared to save human lives as well. InfoMigrants joined them during a training exercise.




The sea is raging out beyond the quay in Palermo port, with Sicily’s mild climate seemingly lashed away by the icy wind. The volunteers of Mediterranea pay scant attention, however, focused as they are on preparing to sail south of the island to areas where boats carrying migrants venture into areas under the responsibility of Italy, Malta, and Tunisia.

Private migrant rescue vessels in the Mediterranean are now less numerous than they were in recent years. When they pick up migrants, they often find themselves bounced back and forth between the various countries deemed responsible for them: a situation that Mediterranea says is intolerable.




The war on NGOs’ led to the project”, says Caccia. 



Mediterranea’s Saving Humans project is the brainchild of Beppe Caccia and Luca Casarini, both well-known for their longstanding activism within the Italian left. Caccia spoke to Infomigrants about how the project began. “We decided to take action in late June 2018, faced with the ‘war’ that several governments were waging on NGOs (working to save migrants in the Mediterranean Sea, Ed.). But we did this in a discrete manner since a public announcement would have led to polemics,” he said.

Various people and bodies joined the project in the following months, such as MoltiVolti, a lively restaurant and co-working space in Palermo’s Ballarò area, where many migrants from the nearby SPRAR asylum seekers assistance center find work and a place to socialize.
Mediterranea has also received support from many cities that have sided against the anti-migration policies of the Italian government: Palermo, Naples, and Milan as well as Barcelona and Amsterdam. Then there is also the Ya Basta! Organization of Bologna and the national branch of ARCI, as well as the ‘counterinformation’ website iDiavoli.
Caccia noted that “fundraising activities then began and in July we had enough money to buy the ship Mare Ionio, a tugboat built in 1972.” He noted that the purchase was necessary since ”those we contacted to rent one were afraid of political retaliation against them and fallout on their businesses. The purchase was made possible mostly by Banca Etica and the fact that some MPs acted as guarantors for credit lines.”
Getting ready for rescues at a difficult time. 
The three days in Palermo begin with a practical exercise in Marina di Cinisi, not far from the Falcone e Borsellino airport. The 35 members of the Mediterranea rescue team listen as Mark, a Brit working with the Sea Watch NGO, explains how to appear friendly to the migrants onboard, how to use the right tone of voice and never yell, how to control facial expressions, and to never accept rash acts. “If someone jumps into the water because they want to be saved first, throw them a life jacket but do not pull them up first,” the instructor said.
We are against the silent massacre, says Casarini. 
Luca Casarini claims that “a silent massacre” is being committed in the Mediterranean Sea. “We gathered this from the silence of the Navtex system, the service that provides weather alerts, as well as the rescue calls to ships. From October to December there was an enormous silence. Obviously, there are boats in distress but we don’t know anything about them anymore. This is shown by the fact that even though journeys in the central Mediterranean have been reduced, the percentage of deaths in relation to this number has risen.”
Casarini explains this is because the authorities now manage the search and rescue areas differently. “They should cooperate to increase safety levels but now they only look at their own work.” Migrant boat wrecks have become a constant, Casarini says. “In this way, you make those that fled Libyan detention camps drown, and this is a violation of the law of the sea and of international law,” he said.
“Moral disobedience, civil obedience” 
The training of volunteers for Mediterranea – at the technical and legal levels – occurs in MoltiVolti in the Palermo Ballarò area. Casarini said that Mare Jonio and the Raj sailboat that flanks it will patrol the waters close to one another, a few miles away from each other at the most.  Sighting boats in distress has been found to work better this way, using both binoculars and alert systems, Casarini explains.
Alessandra Sciurba, head of the Mediterranea legal team, explained their philosophy. “By practicing civil obedience, we are actually practicing moral disobedience. This is because we comply strictly with the law of the sea. Governments are the ones breaking it. This is why we cooperate with other NGO ships operating in the Mediterranean and why we collect material to take to the European Court of Human Rights.”
“When we find out that a boat is in distress, we follow the procedure closely in notifying the various national authorities.” Sciurba underscores that Mediterranea’s “became necessary when we realized that a basic rule was no longer a given: to save those at risk of drowning. We understood that we needed to start over from the ground up, since this rule stopped being taken for granted by many.” The team of Mediterranea, she says, will thus “be at sea to bear witness, coordinate, and – if needed – save human lives.”
Onboard the Mare Jonio. 
The ship hums with activity. At the stern, a container has been mounted that is meant to host anyone rescued. Calculations are made about how many it can hold, then the equipment of the small cabin where the infirmary will be is outlined. It is explained that the migrants will have to take a shower, since many arrive covered in petrol after the crossing.
Also, the volunteers must know how to frisk the ‘guests’ (that’s the only term used), because someone could be carrying a weapon, and that’s not tolerable onboard.
And then the hammering and welding begin. All the volunteers do their part under the watchful eye of seven professional sailors who ensure that the sailing will be safe. A total of 11 people will be onboard for the mission: the sailors and four volunteers. The Mare Jonio is an old but sturdy vessel, Caccia said, and “all the instruments are new.”
“We are at sea to remember that there are people risking their lives and dying in the attempt to reach Europe,” he stresses. “We want to be ready to save as many as possible. Onboard there is a great deal of enthusiasm, determination, and the desire to help. And even outside this group, we receive hundreds of emails from people who ask us how they can help. And this alone is an exceptional achievement.”

Photo: Marta Buso
News (EN)

Despite illegal ban, a delegation gets aboard Sea-Watch 3

Today at 9:25am a delegation consisting of three members of Italian Parliament (Nicola
Fratoianni, Riccardo Magi, and Stefania Prestigiacomo), the Mayor of Siracusa Francesco Italia, medical doctors and lawyers, the spokesperson of Sea Watch Italia Giorgia Linardi, and Alessandra Sciurba of Mediterranea Saving Humans, has reached on a rubber boat Sea-Watch 3, which is anchored off the port of Siracusa, and has boarded the ship. continua

News (EN)

The italian ports are open. Immediate disembarkment for the 47 shipwrecked on board of Sea-Watch 3

Press release from MEDITERRANEA Saving Humans

Urgentmaximum dissemination


News (EN)

Immediately a safe harbour for Sea-Watch 3. Mediterranea ready to intervene

Urgent press release from MEDITERRANEA Saving Humans

For several hours now, the ship Sea Watch 3 is close to the coast of Eastern Sicily, forced to shelter there from bad weather and sea conditions which will worsen markedly in the coming hours.

On board, now for five days, are 47 people, including at least eight unaccompanied minors, who Sea Watch has saved from a shipwreck, thereby preventing them from being captured by the so-called Libyan Coast Guard and returned to the detention camps of that country, exposed to abuse and violence, rape and torture of all kinds. continua

News (EN)

United4Med requests immediate solution for spanish fishing vessel. Serious case aboard.


The condition of the people on board the fishing vessel Nostra Madre di Loreto is critical. The ships of Mediterranea and Open Arms, alongside the vessel (?) for several hours now, are asking Malta for an urgent evacuation of a survivor, that is in a state of unconsciousness at the moment. continua

News (EN)

Urgent Call on the EU and European Governments to allow the fishing vessel “Nuestra Madre de Loreto” to disembark in a safe harbour in the EU



News (EN)

Humanitarian fleet #United4Med strongly asks Europe to open its ports to people rescued by the fishing boat Nuestra Madre de Loreto and condemns Spanish negotiations with Libya.

Since the 23rd of November 12 people are stranded out at sea after they had been rescued out of maritime distress onto the Spanish fishing boat Nuestra Madre de Loreto. Open Arms, Sea Watch and Mediterranea condemn European Union country’s negotiations with Libya to return those people, as this would be a violation of international law and a further step towards neglecting human rights and dignity at sea.


News (EN)

Mediterranea’s layoff in Zarzis – the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights welcomes the Mare Jonio ship.

Yesterday evening Mare Jonio arrived to Zarzis where it will be shortly joined by by Open Arms and Sea-Watch. We were warmly welcomed in Zarzis’ port by fishermen and by the network of local civil society. While we wait for better weather conditions to go back to sea, we have decided to layoff here, on the other side of a Mediterranean sea, that we would like to consider as place of freedom, justice and solidarity: our new Mediterranean. continua

News (EN)

from La Repubblica: “Mare Jonio’s alarm call leads to the rescue of 120 migrants during the night.”

from La Repubblica, by Marco Mensurati

(Onboard Mare Jonio) – The alarm ceased in the middle of the night, right when the weather conditions were worsening. A tugboat navigating across the oil rigs in front of Zuwara, tracked down the sinking dinghy carrying 120 people including women and children and allegedly rescued the people onboard. To this date it is not confirmed whether there have been any victims as it was initially said by the person sending out the SOS from onboard the dinghy. continua