SEA-EYE 4 saves 84 lives


Sea-Eye crew threatened with Libyan weapons during rescue

The crew of the SEA-EYE 4 rescued another 84 people from distress at sea on Thursday morning during the first mission of the current year. The so-called Libyan coast guard, acting aggressively, endangered the rescue operation and aimed weapons at the ship’s rescue boat.

At around 10 a.m., the Sea-Eye rescue vessel received a distress call from Alarmphone, which informed the relevant authorities and the SEA-EYE 4 about the call for help from a rubber boat. The SEA-EYE 4 crew located the people calling for help within an hour. The Head of Mission asked the Italian authorities to coordinate the distress at sea. However, the Italian authorities insisted that Libya was responsible, even though, according to their own statements, no communication with the Libyan authorities was possible at the time. They asked Head of Mission Julie Schweickert to continue trying in Libya herself. However, this was unsuccessful.

In the meantime, the crew members of the MOCHARA rescue boat provided life jackets to the people on the rubber boat. Two people were rescued from the water by the crew of the rescue boat. A total of 84 people were evacuated onto the SEA-EYE 4. During the evacuation, two ships of the so-called Libyan Coast Guard approached at high speed. Head of Mission Julie Schweickert describes “super aggressive” behavior by the Libyans. During the rescue, the weapons of a Libyan ship were aimed at the crew of the rescue boat.

“It is unacceptable that our crew has to look down the barrel of a gun during their humanitarian work. The brutal and ruthless behavior of the so-called Libyan coast guard has nothing to do with sea rescue. Cooperation with these violent and armed militias must be stopped by the EU states before humanitarian aid workers come to harm,” demands Gorden Isler, Chairman of Sea-Eye e.V.

The joint medical team from German Doctors e.V. and Sea-Eye e.V. immediately began providing medical treatment and care for the rescued people.

“Among those rescued are numerous women and families with children. Four children are not even 2 years old. We had to provide one baby with oxygen for a short time. We are glad that we were able to stabilize the children quickly and save so many people,” says Dr Gerd Klausen, on-board doctor for German Doctors on the SEA-EYE 4.

Ammna Bhati, paediatric nurse from London (UK), added that “many people are hypothermic and need treatment.” 

In the afternoon, the Italian authorities directed the SEA-EYE 4 to the port of Ancona, some 800 nautical miles away. The ship will need around 4 days to get there and will therefore ask the Italian authorities for a closer port.