SEA-EYE 4 rescues 52 people from distress at sea

Rescue ship MARE*GO sent out the distress call for the operation

The sea rescue ship SEA-EYE 4 rescued 52 people in the central Mediterranean on Monday evening (May 20, 2024). Two people required emergency medical treatment. The rescue operation took place in the Maltese search and rescue zone.

On Monday afternoon, the SEA-EYE 4 received a distress call from the sea rescue vessel MARE*GO from Zusammenland gUG, which had found the unseaworthy and overcrowded fibreglass boat. MARE*GO was able to equip the occupants with life jackets and stabilise the boat. As the weather was threatening to deteriorate, the crew called the SEA-EYE 4 for assistance, which arrived at the scene after a journey of around two hours. On arrival, the boat was unable to reach a safe port under its own power. At around 22:30, the SEA-EYE 4 successfully completed the rescue operation and evacuated all the people.

“When we arrived, we found the boat overcrowded and unsuitable for crossing the Mediterranean. There were 52 people on board, most of them from Syria. Our rapid arrival at the scene was crucial, as the weather conditions deteriorated significantly during the night. Although we have vulnerable people on board who need a safe place now, we were assigned Ravenna as our port of call – which means five more days in the Mediterranean for the survivors before we are finally allowed to dock”, says Julie Schweickert, head of mission on board the SEA-EYE 4.

“Of the 52 people rescued, two were initially unable to get on board independently due to severe pain and had to be lifted out of the lifeboat using a rescue seat; fortunately, the initial suspicion of head or spinal injuries was not confirmed during the examination in the on-board hospital, and their condition improved over time with pain medication. Several other patients also complained of painful bruises sustained during the rough crossing in the overcrowded boat. Due to the bad weather and high waves, many of those rescued also suffer from seasickness. Fortunately, the health checks carried out so far, which we will complete during the course of the day, have not revealed any other serious illnesses”, adds Dr. Daniela Klein, on-board doctor on the SEA-EYE 4 for German Doctors e.V.

The Italian authorities have assigned the SEA-EYE 4 to the port of Ravenna in the Emilia-Romagna region, around 900 nautical miles away, for disembarkation. The sea rescue ship is expected to arrive there on Saturday.