The Sea-Watch left Lampedusa for its sixth mission. The crew reached the SAR area in the morning and they are now patrolling right outside the limit of the 24 nm from the Libyan coast.
Yesterday, Thursday 3 September, while the Sea-Watch was sailing towards the operational area, the Coast Guard has been involved in very delicate rescue operations.
The patrol boats CP 324, CP 319 and CP 285 of Lampedusa were involved in rescue operation coordinated by the Central Office of the Coast Guard in Rome, which had also hijacked a unit of Guardia di Finanza to render assistance to a rubber boat, found sunk by the rescue operators. As part of this intervention 91 people have been rescued, including a lifeless body. According to the migrants, there were 115 initially on board. The occurring unit provided assistance to drowning people who have been in the water for around an hour before the authorities could reach their position. Aldo, expert diver on duty on the CP324 rescued with his hands around 70 people, with the help of another diver and the rest of the crew. Another estimated 25 persons could not make it.
Whose responsibility? This is a clear demonstration of the fact that the resources deployed in the Sicilian Channel and generally in the Mediterranean Sea are insufficient. One man cannot rescue a boat. Rescues and deaths at sea are ordinary routine off the Libyan coast. The related stories reach Lampedusa and are forgotten there.
However, yesterday something extraordinary happened on board of the SAR patrol boat. A Tweet of the Coast Guard in the afternoon announced: “A new life is sailing towards Lampedusa”.
Assisted by the medical personnel of CISOM, a Nigerian woman in the ninth month of pregnancy gave birth to a child on the CP 324. The patrol boat was directed to the port of Lampedusa, after having rescued another 104 migrants. The rescued people have been found on board of a rubber boat and were initially rescued by the ship CP 906 Corsi of the Coast Guard and subsequently transferred to the patrol boats CP 319 and CP 324 of Lampedusa.
The CP 324 was transporting 55 migrants, including 37 women and 4 children, while trying to reach Lampedusa as soon as possible, since the woman was already in labor. The 24 year old has instead given birth to her baby, welcomed by a festive atmosphere on board. Both the mother and the baby, a boy, are in good health.
The happy event spotted a light of hope in the tragedy of yesterday and of everyday in the Med Sea. At the disembarkation on Favarolo harbor the CP 324 brought as well the deceased body. The Captain of the patrol boat broke out in tears. “He could not even speak” a crew member reports, while introducing the Captain to me as the “the dad of the baby” born during the SAR mission.