Malta leaves 24 people in danger of death at sea
During the night from Wednesday (May 11, 2022) to Thursday, a distress call reached the SEA-EYE 4 via the organization AlarmPhone. 24 people were in distress in a small wooden boat in the Maltese search and rescue zone and called for help. The people said they had already fled Benghazi on May 8, 2022. They are from Eritrea, Sudan, Chad, Libya, Syria and Egypt. The Maltese rescue coordination center refused to coordinate rescue efforts in this case once again.
During Thursday (May 12, 2022), the oil tanker ROSS SEA approached the wooden boat. During the radio communication between the SEA-EYE 4 and the ROSS SEA, the captain of the ROSS SEA stated that he tried to reach the rescue coordination center in Malta, but received no response for a while.
The captain of the ROSS SEA radioed the SEA-EYE 4: “RCC Malta told me to keep on monitoring. They asked me to just stay around and keep on monitoring from distance.”
“We regularly receive no response from the rescue center in Malta during maritime emergencies as well. Why didn’t Malta directly ask ROSS SEA to rescue the people? Malta did not send any help for three days! By now, Malta stops at nothing to prevent people seeking protection from being able to reach Malta,” says Gorden Isler, Chairman of Sea-Eye e. V.
If Malta had coordinated the rescue and had it carried out by the ROSS SEA, whose next port of destination would have been the Maltese capital Valletta, Malta would have had to take in the people seeking protection, because Malta was the next port of safety as well as the port of destination of the ROSS SEA.
“In recent days, we have once again witnessed Malta instructing even merchant ships that are required to provide assistance because they are legally obligated to do so, to keep their distance from people seeking protection in distress at sea. These methods are inhumane and violate basic human rights,” Isler continued.
The SEA-EYE 4 reached the wooden boat on Friday night (May 13, 2022). The crew was able to safely take all 24 people on board and provide them with first aid.
“They are all extremely exhausted. Most of their clothes are soaked and therefore they are hypothermic. It is obvious that they are psychologically traumatized due to 6 days and nights at sea,” says Daniela Klein, doctor of German Doctors on board of SEA-EYE 4.
On May 8, 2022, the SEA-EYE 4 had already taken over 34 people from the cargo ship BSG BAHAMAS, whose crew had rescued the refugees from a small wooden boat. In this case Malta had refused to coordinate the rescue operation as well, so the MRCC Bremen had stepped in. Now the SEA-EYE 4 is in search of a port of safety for the total of 58 people seeking protection.