The Sea-Watch got back from its seventh and last mission on Saturday at 1pm. The unstable weather conditions forced the ship to abandon the SAR area after several days patrolling in the stormy weather. No migrants departures have been registered since Saturday 19th, which when the Sea-Watch assisted with two rescues, in collaboration with the Phoenix boat from MOAS and the Coast Guard’s boat CP906, saving 214 migrants. On That day around 5,000 people have been rescued in the SAR area adjacent to the Libyan coast.
For the rest of the week the rescue activity has stopped. The migrants are waiting to be embarked as soon as the sea conditions become more favourable. Further departures are expected for the beginning of the week. At this point of the season, with Autumn approaching, the fluxes of migrants will be condensed in the few days characterised by absence of waves and stable weather. Even for the smuggling business, it is not convenient to organise the departures unless with optimal weather conditions. The wind, blowing mostly from north-west at this point of the season, would push the rubber boats back to the Libyan coast and would render it difficult to ensure that they actually reach the SAR area.
Tomorrow morning the Sea-Watch will sail again, not towards the SAR area this time: the ship will find shelter in Tunisia for the winter. The coastal city of Zarzis might also become the basis for Sea-Watch’s operational activity for the season 2016. Meanwhile, the Sea-Watch Team is looking for a new boat with better SAR capacity. One thing is sure: Sea-Watch will not leave the migrants alone in the Central Mediterranean.