82 people are missing
From Sunday to Monday (September 4th-5th), the crew of the rescue ship SEA-EYE 4 searched for a distress case in the Maltese Search and Rescue Zone, which had been reported by AlarmPhone to the SEA-EYE 4 and the Maltese Rescue Control Center. AlarmPhone sent updated coordinates several times until it lost communication with the 82 people.
The Maltese Rescue Coordination Center made no discernible attempts to locate the boat. The Maltese Rescue Coordination Center claimed that they had “no information” during a phone call with an AlarmPhone employee. Finally, the AlarmPhone employee was accused of blocking the phone line for other maritime emergencies.
Due to the size of the search area, it was not possible for the SEA-EYE 4 to find the boat without updated coordinates. There is no information on the whereabouts of the 82 people. Although the maritime emergency occurred in the Maltese Search and Rescue Zone, Malta did not involve the SEA-EYE 4 in a coordinated search.
“After intensive days of searching by our crew, we know nothing about the fate of the people who called for help in the Search and Rescue Zone of an EU member state. Had Malta sent a surveillance aircraft and involved us in the search, we might have found the people. At least that is what the Maltese Rescue Center would have done if they had been Europeans in distress at sea,” says Gorden Isler, chairman of Sea-Eye e. V.
Already on September 2nd, the crew of the SEA-EYE 4 rescued 76 people from a small, double-decker wooden boat in distress at sea. The distress case had been previously reported by NADIR of the organization Resqship. Among the rescued people are 17 unaccompanied minors and one child. In the following days, the medical team had to treat several patients in the onboard hospital.
On Tuesday, September 6th, the condition of one patient deteriorated massively. He suffered from severe pain in his abdomen and had a fever. The SEA-EYE 4 then requested a medical evacuation from Malta, whereupon the patient was brought ashore by helicopter for medical treatment.
Yesterday evening (September 6th), the SEA-EYE 4 took over 54 previously rescued people from the RISE ABOVE because it is better equipped to care for them.
“The additional 54 refugees – including 30 minors – were very weakened and dehydrated when they were taken on board the RISE ABOVE. For three days they had held out on their boat without food or drink. In the meantime, they have all been stabilized. Since they are young and none of them has a chronic illness, we are confident that the new guests will at least remain physically stable,” explains Dr. Angelika Leist, German Doctors mission physician and ship’s doctor on board the SEA-EYE 4.
German Doctors regularly provides volunteer doctors for the rescue missions of the SEA-EYE 4 and contributes financially to the operation of the onboard hospital, where a three-person team often has to treat dozens of rescued people during rescue missions.
There are now 129 people on board the SEA-EYE 4, including 48 minors, 47 of whom are unaccompanied. The crew has asked for a port of safety in Italy.