Bad weather front prevents further rescue missions
The crew of the SEA-EYE 4 rescued 29 people from life-threatening distress at sea on September 1st. The SEA-EYE 4 crew on watch spotted the people with binoculars on Wednesday morning. The people fleeing from Libya were huddled together in a small, overcrowded wooden boat. Among them are 18 minors, four of whom are only babies and eight are women. Two of the women are nine months pregnant.
Shortly after the rescue, the weather worsened, a low-pressure area developed and strong winds approached.
“The rescued people did not have a satellite-phone with them. They were incredibly lucky that we found them. If we hadn’t discovered them, they would have remained defenseless in the rough seas,” says Sophie Weidenhiller, spokeswoman for Sea-Eye e. V.
The operations management decided on Thursday evening to quickly bring the rescued people to safety. In particular, the two women in the last stages of pregnancy and the babies have to be brought ashore now and medically treated as fast as possible.
“From our point of view it would be irresponsible to let these women give birth in heavy seas in a small ship infirmary,” Weidenhiller continues.
Sea-Eye constantly keeps local authorities informed about the acute situation. The Italian coast guard declined the coordination on Thursday evening and referred to the responsibility of the German authorities for the SEA-EYE 4.
“We are grateful that the crew of the SEA-EYE 4 was able to save these 29 people. Although all refugees are in stable health conditions, the situation is extremely stressful. Especially for the two heavily pregnant women and the four babies, now also exacerbated by the rough sea and the strong winds. The decision to bring people straight back to a safe port is the only right one,” said Dr. Harald Kischlat, board member German Doctors e. V.
The SEA-EYE 4 is now on course for the Italian island of Sicily and will continue to ask the Italian and German authorities for assistance.