Mediterranean #11

09 / Apr / 2022 30 / Apr / 2022

Mission Logbook

The ship Mare Jonio set sail today at 13:40 from the Sicilian port of Mazara del Vallo for the eleventh observation and monitoring, search and rescue mission of Mediterranea Saving Humans.

In the next 24 hours, the ship will reach the SAR zone assigned to Libya in the Central Mediterranean, where Sea Watch 3 has already been located for a few days. In this stretch of sea, in the first three months of 2022 alone, 318 people have already lost their lives, according to official data provided by the IOM, the United Nations Organisation for Migration. From experience and from the cases of 'ghost shipwrecks' reported since the beginning of the year, we unfortunately know that there are many more dead and missing. Only a week ago Alarm Phone, the 24-hour switchboard run by a network of African and European activists, reported yet another disappearance of a dinghy with more than a hundred people on board that left the Libyan coast east of Tripoli. Only four are said to be the survivors of this shipwreck, the dynamics of which have not yet been clarified, not least because the survivors, recovered at sea by the merchant ship Alegra 1, flying the Panamanian flag, were handed over to Libyan patrol boats and deported back to that country from which they were trying to escape.

Unfortunately, this was not the only case: since the beginning of the year, at least 3,456 women, men and children have been captured at sea by the so-called Libyan coast guard and other militias, financed and supported by the Italian state and other EU member states, and often informed and coordinated by the institutions of these countries themselves. The systematic violation of people's fundamental rights at the continental borders was, most recently, documented just yesterday by the Council of Europe, in a 64-page report written by Commissioner Dunja Mijatovic. The Council of Europe denounces how "the warm and welcoming response given to 4 million fleeing Ukrainians contrasts with the violations committed against refugees, asylum seekers and migrants from other parts of the world." Reporting data collected by the Danish Refugee Council, Mijatovic counts "30,309 incidents of refoulement between December 2019 and September 2021, often with excessive use of force" along the European Union's land and sea borders.

Precisely in the face of these inhuman policies, Mediterranea Saving Humans - whose activists have just returned from their second Safe Passage mission to Ukraine, accompanying more than 200 particularly vulnerable refugees to Italy without any discrimination on the basis of nationality or origin - is once again returning to the sea to safeguard human life and to welcome into Europe those who are also fleeing, via Libya, from wars, ecological disasters, hunger and misery, persecution and violence. Mission number 11 of the Mare Jonio ship, the only unit of the European 'civil fleet' flying the Italian flag, is the second departure in 2022: last January we already rescued 214 women, men and children who were on board two boats in distress. Leading the mission at sea, which will have to contend with particularly unstable weather conditions, are mission leader Luca Casarini, commander Massimiliano Napolitano, first officer Davide Dinicola, and a team that includes rescuers Iason Apostolopoulos and Matteo Fogli and on-board doctor Giovanni Dal Vecchio for a total crew of eleven.

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