Rescue operation, 2 August 2016: Sea-Eye rescues 139 people

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06:15 We sight a wooden boat, 17 nautical miles off the Libyan coast, 40 nm west of Tripolis.

06:30 Sighting of a second boat. At this point the first boat is clearly identifiable as an empty fishing boat.

06:35 We launch the dinghy and inspect the wooden boat. The boat is empty, “rescued” is written on its side, inside some food, toys, pieces of clothing. We head directly towards the second boat, which turns out to be a full rubber boat: 139 people from Nigeria, Somalia, Liberia and Sudan, including 20 women and five children.

06:45 We call the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Rome to inform them about the condition and position of the two boats and do three delivery trips to provide boat two with life vests.

The ‘Bourbon Argos’ of Doctors without Borders appears and quickly moves closer, while five small fishing boats are circling around us.

The ‘Bourbon Argos’ crew take over boat two from us, tow it to their boat and take the refugees on board. The now empty rubber boat is drifting away after the ‘Bourbon Argos’ crew have removed the engine. Within three minutes the circling boats are all over the rubber boat and tow it away.

09:15 The ‘Bourbon Argos’ crew return our life vests and we board our dinghy.