Mediterranean #6

02 / Jul / 2019 06 / Jul / 2019

Mission Logbook

04 / Jul / 2019

17:05

17:07
Mediterranea's Alex is heading towards a dinghy in distress with 59 people on board, including 11 women (one pregnant) and 4 children.
ITMRCC Rome has just responded that "Libyan Coast Guard is coordinating SAR event and sending patrol boat."
These people must be rescued, not brought back to die in Libya.

18:30

h18:28
All 59 shipwrecked people have been rescued and are now on board Mediterranea's Alex.
Among them are 11 women (three pregnant, one of whom is in a serious condition) and four children. The Libyan patrol boat arrived late, first called halt, then moved away from the scene.
We are enormously happy to have snatched 59 lives from the hell of Libya.
Now we need a Place of Safety immediately.

21:20

h21:19
Mediterranea's Alex is heading north, out of the Libyan SAR zone. We asked ITMRCC Rome for the urgent assignment of Lampedusa as the nearest safe port of disembarkation for the 59 people rescued on board.

05 / Jul / 2019

04:00

At 4 a.m. this morning Mediterranea's ship Alex arrived at the edge of Italian territorial waters, 12 miles from Lampedusa, but a Decree by the Ministers of the Interior, Defence and Transport forbids entry.
The Decree is illegitimate: because it cannot apply to a ship that has carried out a rescue operation to protect human life at sea. And because an Italian flag cannot be banned from entering the waters of its own country.

05:15

At 5:17 a.m. MRCC Malta wrote to us offering as a 'goodwill gesture' the willingness of the Maltese government to disembark on the island the 59 people on board the Alex.
We replied that the Alex, due to the psychophysical condition of the people on board and the characteristics of the ship, is not able to make the crossing to Malta. But we are willing to transfer the shipwrecked people onto Maltese patrol boats or those of the Italian Coast Guard.
We are now on the edge of Italian territorial waters waiting for a safe port of disembarkation for the 59 rescued people to be assigned as soon as possible.
Before the situation on board becomes untenable.

21:20

h21:19
Mediterranea's Alex is heading north, out of the Libyan SAR zone. We asked ITMRCC Rome for the urgent assignment of Lampedusa as the nearest safe port of disembarkation for the 59 people rescued on board.

15:30

h15:29

Following an on-board visit by the SMOM doctors, the evacuation of the first 13 people rescued from the Alex on board the Coast Guard patrol boat CP300 is underway.
These are the most vulnerable (children, women) and their entire families. This is good news. Finally.

Now the other 46 shipwrecked people must also disembark soon.
The agreement between the Italian and Maltese governments has been confirmed by both sides: we are waiting for the authorities to organise their transfer to Malta on military assets, since it obviously cannot take place on board the Alex.

17:50

The Alex was stranded in international waters all day long under the blazing sun.
The Alex is not equipped to guarantee the safety of so many people for long. She was forced to embark shipwrecked for a matter of life and death. That is why it was and is impossible to make the crossing to Malta, which has declared itself ready to receive our guests.
We are waiting for equipped ships of the Italian Harbour Offices - Coast Guard or the Maltese authorities to transport these people safely.
Today has been a long day. For them, interminable.

19:55

h19:53
Almost five hours have passed since the Ministry of Defence announced that it had made Navy ships available for the evacuation, transfer and disembarkation in Malta of the 46 people rescued now on board the Alex, but nothing seems to move.
We do not understand what is preventing the operation, and we wonder if there are political and propaganda operations underway in the skin of these people.
Are we waiting for the conditions of necessity to force us to enter Lampedusa in order to create a new political clash animated by the usual slogans?
Propaganda on the skin of 41 people, who have been at sea for more than 48 hours fleeing from Libyan hell and all they have endured to get there, is not acceptable. Our goal is their safety, their salvation, their disembarkation.
We would also like it to be that of the Italian government and the European institutions.

22:50

h22:49

It is not true that we refused Malta and we do not seek impunity.
It is not true that Alex refused to go to Malta. He has accepted Valletta as a Place of Safety since last night, even in the knowledge of the absurdity of not allowing disembarkation in the nearest Place of Safety of Lampedusa. This was to preserve the shipwrecked people on board from the indecent spectacle of days of negotiations at sea.
What we have asked for, however, are guarantees for the safety of the shipwrecked people and for our own, including that of sailing with only 18 people on board, including crew, because that is the maximum number of people our sailboat can carry.
We also asked to be able to disembark the few migrants we would thus have on board at the limit of Maltese territorial waters. This is because as Italians we do not want to be subjected to the regime of a foreign country that has in the past seized civil society ships without any transparency procedure.
This is not at all the same as seeking impunity, because those who have committed crimes seek impunity, and this is not our case. We have even respected the ban not to enter Italian waters, despite the fact that a judge has just clarified that the security decree bis does not apply to ships that have carried out a rescue.
But maybe that is the Italian government's problem, not having a side to attack us. And that is why it tries to weave traps elsewhere, with an absurd hostage exchange (Italy takes 50 migrants from Malta in exchange for the ones we have on board) with a cruel and also economically unjustifiable operation.
We would have done it anyway, going to Malta, for the safety of the people on board who at 10pm are left without food, after the one brought this morning. For all of us, the hygienic and sanitary conditions have now collapsed and we have not even been given a load of fresh water as requested.
We are waiting for a response from the Italian authorities, because so far (except for press releases that lie through their teeth) we remain without any formal response to our requests. The situation will not be manageable for much longer.

06 / Jul / 2019

15:15

JULY 6 UPDATE: Safe Harbour Request

After a night of exchanges with the Rescue Coordination Centres in Malta and Italy, it is quite clear that leaving for the port of Valletta in the current conditions would mean putting the safety and security of the people on board the Alex at risk.
We have even discovered that, according to ITMRCC in Rome, when approaching the arrival in Maltese territorial waters, Alex would have to load all 46 people back on board, in defiance of any regulations on the safety of navigation, and thus enter the port of Valletta.

Disturbing then are the press reports that, from various authoritative sources, denounce the existence of an agreement between the Italian and Maltese governments aimed at seizing the vessel Alex and arresting the entire crew. Retaliatory acts outside any respect for the rule of law.
Under these conditions, in full respect of international law, maritime Conventions and IMO guidelines, we have just reiterated our request for the assignment of the nearest safe port of Lampedusa as Place of Safety.
Here is a detailed and documented reconstruction of the facts.

h15:15
Faced with the intolerable sanitary situation on board, ALEX has declared a 'state of necessity' and is heading for the port of Lampedusa
the only possible safe port of disembarkation.

17:15

h17:16

The sailing boat Alex of Mediterranea Saving Humans with 46 castaways on board has just docked at the port of Lampedusa.
There are no closed ports for humanity.

17:50

Ore 17:50

Mediterranea's Alex entered port out of necessity. Now the rescued castaways are to be disembarked immediately and cared for.

18:25

h18:26

The survivors and crew are exhausted.
The 41 people rescued need to be rescued and cared for. We are living in a surreal situation and it is unnecessary cruelty to prolong the wait.

19:40

h19:42

The sailing boat Alex has been moored for more than two hours at the commercial wharf of Lampedusa with the shipwrecked people on board plus the crew members: incredibly, disembarkation procedures have not yet been activated.
The people on board are sick, in need of rescue and medical care.
The shipwrecked people have been on board for more than 48 hours.
Does anyone from Rome intend to run a kidnapping?

fateliscendere

19:55

Ore 19:57

The boat Alex was transferred to Molo Favaloro in Lampedusa to allow water supplies on board and tourist ferry landing.

23:10

h23:10

No disembarkation authorisation from the Viminale. The shipwrecked people remain sleeping on the Alex, seized without justification. The crew of Mediterranea, who would be free to disembark, chose to remain on board. Either everyone disembarks or no one disembarks. #fateliscendere

00:30

h00:30

We confirm the news: the castaways rescued from the Mediterranea Saving Humans sailing ship Alex are finally disembarking to receive care and assistance.
The Guardia di Finanza is notifying the captain of the Alex of the decree of seizure of the ship, and the opening of an investigation against him for the crime of 'aiding and abetting illegal immigration'.
The news of the entire crew being investigated is unfounded.
We are happy for the extraordinary people we had the privilege to help.
.

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