5 operations in 24 hours: SEA-EYE 4 rescues 231 people in the Mediterranean Sea

SEA EYE 4

The survivors included a mother with her baby and a woman nine months pregnant.

At noon on Sunday (July 7th 2024), the crew of the civilian rescue ship SEA-EYE 4 responded to a distress call provided by Alarmphone and evacuated 46 people from a rubber boat in distress. A few hours later, the vessel received another Alarmphone message. This time, the RESQSHIP sailing vessel NADIR was first on the scene, stabilized the unseaworthy rubber boat, which was losing air and partially filled with water, distributed life jackets and secured 22 people on life rafts, including a mother and her baby. When SEA-EYE 4 arrived around 7 p.m., it picked up all 60 survivors. At 2 a.m. on July 8th, the rescue vessel reached a fiberglass boat and rescued another 10 people. On Monday morning, the crew, together with the crew of the NADIR, brought a total of 58 people to safety on board of the SEA-EYE 4 from an overcrowded wooden boat that had already taken on water. The operation was completed at 7 a.m. Shortly after noon, the vessel found another rubber boat in distress and rescued 57 people, including a heavily pregnant woman. 

“Five rescues in 24 hours: That shows the state of emergency in the Mediterranean at the moment – and how important it is that we are there to save lives. But by sending civilian rescue ships to distant ports – we have to calculate six days for the journey to and from Genoa alone – we are losing valuable time in the search and rescue zone, during which we cannot help people in need. This policy can have fatal consequences for people seeking protection,” says Gorden Isler, Chairman of Sea-Eye e.V.

“We had a pregnant woman on board who needed urgent medical attention. Many of those rescued have spent days in the Mediterranean and are weakened and severely dehydrated. Some are suffering from fuel burns, chemical burns that occur when gasoline mixes with seawater and then comes into contact with human skin,” adds Ayesha Sattar, on-board doctor on the SEA-EYE 4 for German Doctors e.V.

Following the instructions of the Italian authorities, the SEA-EYE 4 has handed over the people rescued during the last operation to the Italian Coast Guard. The vessel is now on its way to the port of Genoa, about 600 nautical miles away, where it is expected to arrive on July 11th. There, the people from the first four operations will be allowed to leave the rescue ship.