The German Sea-Eye volunteer organization at the weekend rescued 114 migrants, including a pregnant woman and eight children, from two ships stranded off the Libyan coast.
The organisation, in a statement on its website, said 90 people were first lifted from an “overloaded rubber boat” and then lifted another 24 people aboard from a fishing boat.
The organisation added that eight of those rescued were children and eight were women, one of whom was pregnant.
Sea-Eye President Gorden Isler said, despite facing certain death, the migrants did not send a distress signal over fears of being detained by Libyan militia.
The number of migrants attempting the hazardous journey to Europe via the Mediterranean has increased sharply in 2020. Most of the vessels used for the journey hardly suitable for sailing at sea.
German Sea-Eye volunteer organization wrote on its website: “On Saturday afternoon, the ALAN KURDI crew rescued a total of 114 people from two different boats. At 11:45 a.m., the ship’s watch first sighted an overloaded rubber dinghy, carrying 90 people. Captain Joachim Ebeling immediately informed the German and Libyan authorities. The people on the rubber boat reported about other boats with people who had fled Libya.
“Hence, immediately after the first rescue, a smaller, overcrowded fishing boat with 24 people calling for help was spotted as well. All of the 114 people, including eight women and eight children, are now aboard the ALAN KURDI. Four people are currently being cared for in the ship’s hospital ward, including a pregnant woman and a man with severe circulatory problems. One of the women and one man are being treated for lacerations.
“For fear of being dragged back by Libyan militias, these people did not send a distress call for help. This was an enormous risk and they were extremely lucky that our ship’s watch spotted them with their binoculars,” says Gorden Isler, Chairman of Sea-Eye e. V.
“Shortly after the second rescue operation, the so-called Libyan coast guard approached at high speed. The Libyan patrol boat was itself involved in a distress call at sea and was completely overloaded as a result. The Libyans did not contact the ALAN KURDI, took the empty fishing boat and turned towards Libya. Neither the Libyan authorities nor the European rescue coordination centers responded to the emergency calls from ALAN KURDI by phone or email.
“In the meantime, all communication with aid organizations has ceased and nobody in Europe views themselves as responsible for these people anymore. They are being handed over to the Libyans or the sea. But they are now on a German ship and are finally being treated like humans again,” says Jan Ribbeck from Sea-Eye’s operations management team.”