Shots Fired By Libyan Militia In The Midst Of ALAN KURDI Rescue Operation

Sea-Eye rescue ship saves 68 people in international
waters off Libyan coast

  • ALAN KURDI saved 68 people
  • Libyan militia hinders rescue operation and fires
  • People desperately jumped into the water
  • ALAN KURDI on the way to a second
    boat in distress

On Monday morning, the ALAN KURDI crew received an emergency call via the NGO Alarm Phone. Captain Bärbel Beuse informed the responsible authorities and set course for the coordinates transmitted by Alarm Phone. An hour later ALAN KURDI reached the position. Upon arrival the crew found a wooden boat with a total of 68 people. None of the people had a life jacket.

While the crew of the ALAN KURDI launched their first rescue boat, a Libyan-flagged speedboat approached at high speed. The shots fired and risky maneuvers by the Libyans quickly led to a life-threatening escalation of the situation. Around half of the people from the overcrowded wooden boat jumped into the water and tried to reach the ALAN KURDI on their own.

“When I heard the Libyan gunfire, I was very concerned about my crew and the refugees,” says Stefan Schütz, head of mission aboard the ALAN KURDI.

The rescue boat crews quickly dispatched lifesaving appliances to the water to prevent people from drowning.

The captain informed the German authorities
of the Libyan threat. After a short time things calmed down and the Libyans
finally allowed the rescue of people in the water, the supply of people with
life jackets on the wooden boat and the subsequent evacuation of the refugees remaining in
the wooden boat. All of the 68 people
were saved. The Libyans immediately abstracted the wooden boat and disappeared.
Some of the rescued people are in shock or are hypothermic and are therefore receiving medical
care. The vast majority of those saved said they are from
Bangladesh, a few are from Syria, Chad or Sudan. 20 people
state that they are minors.

“With their behavior, the Libyans risked the drowning of many people. While the EU member states pay money to so-called Libyan coast guards, our crew is once again hindered and threatened while saving lives,” said Gorden Isler, Chairman of Sea-Eye e. V.

The ALAN KURDI was also notified of another distress case. The ship is already on its way there.