Mediterranean #14

13 / Oct / 2023

Mission Logbook

After leaving the port of Trapani on Friday, October 13, the Mare Jonio rescued 47 people southeast of Lampedusa on October 14. During the night of Oct. 14-15, they were all disembarked in Lampedusa [updated].

13 / Oct / 2023

The Mare Jonio set sail from the port of Trapani and headed for the Search and Rescue area.

14 / Oct / 2023

The Mare Jonio rescued 47 people aboard an ironclad boat that was sinking 40 miles southwest of Lampedusa.

15 / Oct / 2023

All 47 people aboard the Mare Jonio were disembarked on the island of Lampedusa.

16 / Oct / 2023

The Mare Jonio departed Lampedusa and headed back to the Search and Rescue area to continue operations.

17 / Oct / 2023

The Mare Jonio rescued 69 people and Italian authorities assigned Trapani as the port of disembarkation.

On the evening of Friday, Oct. 13, 2023, the MARE JONIO set sail from the port of Trapani, heading to the central Mediterranean for its fourteenth monitoring and observation mission at sea.

After weeks of continuous checks by Italian authorities (the last inspection on board was two hours before departure), despite the fact that criminal consequences up to and including arrest were threatened if all "rescue equipment and supplies" were not offloaded from the ship, MARE JONIO set sail.

The Mare Jonio crew received several reports from Alarm Phone and Sea-Watch's Seabird aircraft of vessels in distress in the SAR area attributed to Libya.

The ship was heading south toward the last known locations of these cases when, during observation shifts with binoculars, an ironclad vessel overloaded with people was spotted about 40 nautical miles from Lampedusa. The vessel was already taking on water and was in danger of capsizing.

The crew immediately contacted the Italian rescue coordination center, the MRCC in Rome, and the Maltese authorities responsible for the area, asking them for instructions. Faced with Malta's silence and the real risk of the boat sinking, the rescue team had to proceed to rescue all the people on board the Mare Jonio, where they were given first aid. Late in the evening, MRCC in Rome announced the assignment of the port of Lampedusa as the SOP for disembarkation. Operations on the island's pier quietly ended at 3 a.m. on the night of Saturday, October 14, and Sunday, October 15.

At dawn on Monday, October 16, the Mare Jonio set sail from the port of Lampedusa and returned to the Search and Rescue (SAR) area.

Following a report from Sea Watch's Sea Bird civilian aircraft, the Mare Jonio reached an endangered dinghy fleeing Libya. By the time they arrived on the scene, the dinghy was in danger of sinking and one person had already fallen into the water and was in danger of drowning.

The Rescue Team rescued all 69 shipwrecked people in distress and brought them safely aboard the Mare Jonio. Most of them are from Sudan.

After this initial rescue, the crew searched throughout the night for a second boat reported by Sea Bird, unfortunately to no avail: in fact, it appears to have been intercepted and captured by the so-called Libyan coast guard.

Authorities later assigned Trapani as the port of disembarkation for the Ionian Sea [to be updated].

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