Email from Aquarius to French MRCC, copying Italian MRCC and Tunisian Navy

“Dear Sirs,

During her voyage to the port of Marseille for her port of call planned on Sunday 19th of August, MV Aquarius heard a VHF conversation alerting to a rubber boat in distress in position 37° 25’N at 010° 51’E. Aquarius was 10nm from the position and altered course to proceed to the target. I informed the Italian MRCC and Tunisian RCC by email that Aquarius was currently approaching the boat to assess the situation and stabilize if necessary and asked to be informed who was the coordinating authority of this case. The Italian MRCC replied that Tunisian MRCC is taking responsibility for the case. I did not receive a reply from the Tunisian RCC and received no instructions from the several Tunisian RCC numbers called over phone.

Aquarius approached the vessel to assess the medical situation on board and stabilise the boat. The 5 people onboard are Tunisian. We informed a Tunisian patrol boat arriving on scene that we would move away from the scene and handover coordination of the case to the Tunisian patrol board in order not to create complications. As the Tunisian patrol boat approached the rubber boat, two people jumped into the water without lifejackets. The fast rescue craft of Aquarius rescued the two men overboard and transferred the three other. Once rescued, the 5 Tunisian men said they would hurt themselves if transferred onto the Tunisian coast guard vessel, due to risks they would face if being brought back to Tunisia.

The Tunisian patrol boat was informed of all actions taken and had no objection. Called again, the Tunisian RCC provided no information and hung up the phone.

Given the situation and the intended voyage of the Aquarius to Marseille, would you kindly agree to provide a place of safety for these 5 people since it would release MV Aquarius from their obligations with minimum further deviation from our intended voyage, as per SOLAS Reg.33/1.1 and MSC 167 (78)/2.4? I will send a full SITREP and Maritime incident report to this RCC shortly

You can find below the table of the rescued people.

Please acknowledge receipt of this email.

Best Regards”