Sea-Eye operation on 20 July: 244 people rescued

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Sea-Eye mission 7: large scale operation together with sailing boat “Astral”. This is their report.

07:20 Two possible sightings at a distance of approx. 14 nautical miles.

07:40 Sightings confirmed: two rubber boats and two ‘fishing’ boats.

07:45 Inform MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in Rome)

07:54 Spanish plane (TransAl) above us. We approach the boats. We call all large vessels in the vicinity; only “Phoenix” (belongs to rescue organisation MOAS) replies.

08:10 Spanish plane continues to circle, confirms they have passed on the information. We calm down the people in the first rubber boat by megaphone and ask them to follow us north (we are very close to the 12-nm-zone). They do. Sailing boat “Astral” is close, but further north.

08:21 We take “Charlotti 2” (Sea-Eye’s rubber dinghy) to water, load it with a Big Pack (life vests).

08:25 RIB (rigid inflatable boat) SA “Carla” offers help; we accept. “Carla” needs some of our life vests, they only have 50.

08:37 “Charlotti 2” loads second Big Pack. Bert Schuler (mission 7 crew member) reports approx. 100-120 persons on the rubber boats, mainly men, a few women and children. They are nervous at first, but calm down soon.

08:48 Third Big Pack delivered to the boats. Bert Schuler: people on the boats are in good condition.

08:54 “Charlotti 2” is damaged, takes water. We call “Carla” for emergency support.

08:58 “Charlotti 2” and team on board the Sea-Eye. “Carla” has arrived, we hand over life vests for further provision.

09:01 All refugees provided with life vests and secured.

09:20 “Astral” confirms that everyone has been cared for.

12:22 “Phoenix”: total number of rescued persons: 1st boat 118 people, 2nd boat 126 people.

12:35 We set off towards Malta. The crew is well and in good spirits (comment by Bert Schuler: “not enough beer on board”).