This morning at 02h36 we received a call via satellite phone from the MRCC Rome. They reported a boat in distress at position 33°26N/011°E.
After some starting problems of our main engine, we got going at 03h40 and moved towards the indicated position, about 6 nautical miles inside the Libyan SRR-zone. Once at the position, we started our search towards the North. We assumed the boat would be there due to current and wind directions.
We were finally successful – with four people standing on the lookout – and sighted the small glass fibre boat. We handed out life vests.
Following consultation with the MRCC, at 07h40 we took the 12 people on board, including two children and one woman. We towed the refugee boat. Our RIB-rubber boat immediately continued towards the East-Northeast, because we had seen another object on the radar. This, however, turned out to be a fishing boat.
Our RIB returned and we signalled to the MRCC Rome that the case was closed. Then we started to recover the engine of the refugee boat. Afterwards we drilled a hole into the boat to make it unusable and to sink it.
At the instruction of the MRCC, we remained in the area, because due to the weather conditions, more boats were assumed to be there.
As the private search plane MOONBIRD was also in action, we established contact via radio and email. We requested support for our search, but unfortunately the plane was involved in another search together with the LIFELINE, East of Tripolis. Due to a shortage of petrol the plane couldn’t help us afterwards and had to return to Malta. In addition, another case from the MRCC remains open, but without information on a position.