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CARLO MAISANO, EMERGENCY SAR PROJECT COORDINATOR: “ALL OPERATIONS WERE CARRIED OUT PROMPTLY BY THE RESCUE TEAM.”
On 18 December at 5am, EMERGENCY’s Life Support vessel completed its first sea rescue of 70 shipwrecked people in the Libyan search and rescue zone.
Among the survivors are 5 women, one of whom is 7 months pregnant, 2 children under the age of 2, and 24 unaccompanied minors aged 13 and over. They come from Somalia, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Burkina Faso and Mali. “They are mostly dehydrated, there are a few cases of scabies, and one person is experiencing convulsions,” says Paola Tagliabue, Medical Officer on board Life Support.
On Sunday 18 December, Life Support received a report from Alarm Phone of a boat in difficulty in the Libyan SAR area. After locating the boat, Life Support informed all authorities and immediately activated the rescue team.
“All operations were carried out with promptly by the rescue team,” says Carlo Maisano, EMERGENCY’s SAR Project Coordinator. “It was a complex rescue due to the type of vessel – a wooden boat of approximately 7 metres – and the number of people on board. As we had been warned by Alarm Phone, the boat was overcrowded”.
A Libyan Coast Guard unit was present during the rescue operation and later recovered and destroyed the empty boat.
Life Support departed from the port of Genoa on 13 December for its first search and rescue mission in the Central Mediterranean. On 18 December at 8.48am, we asked for a port of safety where we could disembark the survivors. The port of Livorno was assigned to us by the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre at 10.59am.