The rescue ship Sea-Watch 3 had set off for the Central Mediterranean on October 10. In seven rescue operations, the crew was able to save over 400 people from distress at sea, but the ship has so far been denied a port of safety. The situation on board is worsening, and several people have already had to be evacuated for medical reasons.
On Sunday, October 17, 2021, and the following Monday, the crew of Sea-Watch 3 was able to rescue a total of 412 people from distress at sea in seven consecutive rescue operations. Two distress cases were discovered by Sea-Watch’s Seabird reconnaissance aircraft, including a boat that lost air and was in danger of sinking. The people who fell into the water were also rescued in a difficult rescue and brought to safety aboard our ship.
Over 150 of those rescued are minors and children. The people are being cared for and given medical attention by the crew aboard Sea-Watch 3. Many have chemical burns from the highly corrosive gasoline and saltwater mixture that collects in the boats. As part of medical evacuations, six women have already been brought ashore from the ship by the Italian Coast Guard. The remaining 406 people continue to be denied a port of safety.
“The medical capacities onboard are overwhelmed due to the sheer number of patients. There are heavily pregnant women on board; others are suffering from extensive fuel burns. These types of injuries need to be treated in a hospital under adequate conditions. People need a safe place to disembark as soon as possible. With every day at sea, the situation becomes more dangerous.” Carolin Möhrke, medic on board Sea-Watch 3.
Worsening weather conditions also exacerbate the situation, with people on the upper deck exposed to wind and rain. Due to many people rescued and limited space, sleeping onboard can only happen in shifts.
“The rights deprivation of people on the move must stop. Human rights must also apply without a European passport. The people on board our ship have had to risk their lives because Europe leaves them no choice but to flee across the sea. The weather is getting worse, and the situation on board is deteriorating. We cannot wait until every single one of the more than 400 people has to be evacuated for medical reasons. They all have a right to a port of safety, and they need one now,” said Philipp Hahn, Head of Mission aboard Sea-Watch 3.
According to the IOM, over 1400 people have already drowned in the Mediterranean in 2021, although a high number of unreported cases must be assumed. More than 25,000 people have been dragged back to Libya on behalf of Europe in violation of international law, where they face the most severe human rights violations.