Published by Consiglio direttivo di Mediterranea | 22 / Mar / 2024

“Di nuovo là dove bisogna stare.” La nave Mare Jonio torna nel Mediterraneo centrale.

MEDITERRANEA Saving Humans’ Mission 15 has started

Since the beginning of the year, according to official UN figures, 323 women, men and children have lost their lives in the Central Mediterranean and at least 2,738 people have been intercepted at sea and forcibly returned to Libya, while the figures on captures and pushbacks in Tunisia are unknown. In this scenario, at 15:05 today, MARE JONIO, the ship of MEDITERRANEANEA Saving Humans, set sail from the port of Trapani, heading towards the Central Mediterranean for its 15th search and rescue mission at sea. It is the only Civil Fleet vessel flying the Italian flag.

On-board Head of Mission Denny Castiglione said, "We are happy to be at sea again. In recent months, we have unfortunately witnessed increasingly frequent shipwrecks and deaths at sea have exponentially increased. Despite this, the Meloni government has intensified its efforts to obstruct the Civil Fleet ships, increasingly applying the so-called Piantedosi Decree, despite the fact that several courts have already challenged its legitimacy. In the coming hours we will finally be back where we belong. Because even one more ship makes the difference between life and death at sea."

Dariush Beigui, one of the activists of the Iuventa Crew, who has been under investigation for the past seven years in the Trapani Public Prosecutor's Office investigation against the German ship's rescue activities, is also on board: "We are proud," Castiglione continues, "that Iuventa has chosen to return to sea with us, after the request for acquittal from all charges and while waiting for the Trapani Court to decide on their case on 19 April. With Dariush on the Mare Jonio we can finally say that a piece of the Iuventa 'is back'."

The rescue team of Mission 15

The Mare Jonio, active since October 2018 in the central Mediterranean, is back on mission despite the criminalisation operation of which Mediterranea is also the target. In fact, a few weeks ago the preliminary phase of the investigation against 7 Mediterranea activists began for "aggravated aiding and abetting illegal immigration" in reference to the ninth monitoring and rescue mission in September 2020, in which 27 people were rescued.

"The government has tried to create all kinds of bureaucratic and legal obstacles," says Laura Marmorale, president of MEDITERRANEANEA Saving Humans, "to hinder and criminalise civil sea rescue. At the same time, the will to close external borders by the European Union and its member states is blatant. The inhuman agreements with countries ruled by authoritarian regimes, like Libya first, Tunisia or more recently Egypt, blatantly violate every international human rights norm, but our rulers do not care about that. For them, the important thing is that people on the move do not arrive to Europe. However, reality shows us that migration is a human phenomenon, which cannot be stopped with proxy rejections or lagers. It is precisely for this reason that it is essential to be at sea to rescue people in danger and document the human rights violations of which they are victims. That is why the Mediterranean sea is where we have to be'.

The president of Mediterranea Laura Marmorale in Trapani when Mare Jonio set sail

Trapani, 22th March 2024

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