From the logbook of Sea-Eye skipper Orlamünder
Thursday, 18.05.2017. At 06:00 we inform the MRCC Rome of our coordinates.
From 06:10 onwards we receive information by radio about sightings of overcrowded boats in distress.
At 07:45 our dinghy Charlotti approaches an overcrowded wooden boat with more than 100 passengers.
At 08:25, thanks to good weather and the calm situation on board the refugee boat, we are able to provide everyone with life vests. Ever more sightings are getting reported. Thank God there are five NGO ships in the target area.
As we have a further sighting, the Phoenix of MOAS takes on the recovery of the passengers onto their ship.
At 08:40 we have five new sightings in different directions.
As of 09:42, the Charlotti starts providing a rubber boat with life vests, again with more than 100 people on board.
At 10:15 the large NGO ship VOS Prudence of the organisation Doctors without Borders is appointed On Scene Coordinator.
As we have further sightings, the VOS Prudence starts the recovery of the passengers onto their ship at 10:25. We rush to refuel the Charlotti and the On Scene Coordinator calls us to aid the Phoenix with the recovery. The weather continues to be stable, and the recovery takes place without problem.
At 11:45 a small fishing boat with more than 20 people heads towards our position swerving about.
At 11:58 all passengers have safely been provided with life vests. As the Phoenix already has taken on board more than 350 people, the On Scene Coordinator requests us to take the 24 people (including one woman and several under-age youths) on board the Sea-Eye. Before that the Phoenix returns Sea-Eye’s life vests. At 13:00 we head towards the VOS Prudence, which will take our guests on board.
At 13:44 we recover our life vests from the VOS Prudence in several trips of our dinghy Charlotti. At 14:20 we transfer all refugees successfully to the VOS Prudence.
Until 18:20 we continue to patrol our assigned area west of our previous position. A good day for us is nearing its end. We were able to closely experience how well the first provision of boats in distress can work when many helpers are on the spot and the weather is favourable. Today’s rescue action went off entirely differently and better than our last operation of 13 May 2017, during which we were on our own, facing waves of over two metres and helping more than 500 people.