ONBOARD SOS MEDITERRANEE Activities and observations of our rescue ship in the Central Mediterranean

SITUATION RECAP
Last update 25/08/2018 (All times in UTC+2)

Rescue operation North of Tunisia, 5 survivors

 

– On Friday, on its way to Marseille, Aquarius overheard a VHF call from a sailing vessel, reporting a boat “with migrants on board” at 10 nautical miles from Aquarius position.

– Aquarius proceeded to the position to assess the situation and stabilise if necessary. It informed the Tunisian and Italian MRCCs about the alert.

– After Aquarius RHIB had stabilised the boat in distress, a Tunisian patrol boat arrived on scene. 2 people jumped into the water without lifejackets and were immediately rescued by the Aquarius RHIB. The 3 other people onboard the rubber boat were rescued a few moments later and transferred safely onboard the Aquarius, with the agreement of the Tunisian patrol boat.

– Aquarius stood-by in international waters, waiting for clarification about the disembarkation of the 5 survivors.

– On Saturday afternoon, a Tunisian Navy vessel approached Aquarius to transfer the 5 survivors. Aquarius requested it to standby while it sought  guidance from UNHCR, since it remained concerned that returning the survivors to their home country could be a breach of international refugee law. The Tunisian Navy vessel acknowledged and left the area at the end of the afternoon.

– UNHCR conducted individual skype interviews with the 5 survivors in order to provide guidance to Aquarius.

– Aquarius discussed the feedback of UNHCR with the 5 survivors so that they could make an informed decision about their next steps. All five survivors decided to go back to Tunisia because of the lack of other options.

– Aquarius awaited instructions from MRCC Tunis regarding the next steps of the operation.

– The 5 survivors were transferred onto a Tunisian Navy boat on Saturday 25th of August at 8 AM.

– Aquarius resumed navigating towards Marseille, France.

Search

August 17, 2018
12:19

Aquarius calls the Tunisian Navy on VHF, no reply

12:28

Aquarius calls Tunisian Navy on VHF and informs that Aquarius is proceeding to the position

12:49

Aquarius calls Tunisian MRCC to update about the situation, no contact established

13:03

Visual contact with the rubber boat

13:40

Call to all stations on VHF to inform that Aquarius is engaged in a possible SAR event and requesting vessels to keep a safe distance

13:48

First assessment of the rubber boat: stable medical situation

13:49

Aquarius informs Tunisian Navy over VHF about the boat condition, Tunisian Navy to revert

14:19

Aquarius contacts the number provided, starts detailing the situation, the person on the phone hangs up

14:53

Aquarius calls Tunisian Navy on VHF twice, no reply

15:00

A RHIB proceeds to Tunisian Patrol Boat to ask for instructions, no instructions received. Tunisian Patrol Boat is informed that RHIB intends to bring the survivors onto Aquarius and does not object

15:16

Aquarius reverts to French MRCC for instructions and is given a phone number of Tunisian MRCC

15:18

Aquarius calls Tunisian MRCC for instructions, it is told that Tunisian MRCC is busy and it should call back later

15:55

The 5 survivors are brought from the RHIB onto Aquarius

Latitude: 37.43
Longitude: 10.857
16:03

A RHIB informs Tunisian Patrol Boat of intention to proceed North to avoid dense ship traffic and receives no objections

16:21

Aquarius calls back the Tunisian MRCC and is provided with the number of the person in charge

16:22

Aquarius calls the Tunisian MRCC number provided, the person hangs up the phone after Aquarius presented itself

16:24

Aquarius calls the French MRCC updating about the situation, informing of lack of instructions and of intention to start sailing North

16:26

Aquarius starts sailing North

18:06

French MRCC acknowledges receipt of request for a Place of Safety

August 18, 2018
09:31

Aquarius calls French MRCC to update about the situation and seek instructions

12:36

Tunisian Navy suggests by email that Aquarius remains in standby while a Tunisian Navy ship will come to transship the 5 survivors

13:32

Tunisian Navy suggests by email that Aquarius proceeds South and tries to contact Tunisian Navy ship on VHF

13:58

Aquarius calls Tunisian Navy ship on VHF and asks them to standby

15:31

Tunisian Navy asks by email for an update

18:06

The Tunisian Navy ship leaves the area

August 19, 2018
13:40

UNHCR confirms to Aquarius that it will hold skype individual interviews with the five survivors

August 20, 2018
August 21, 2018
16:00

Aquarius discusses the feedback of UNHCR and the situation with the 5 survivors so that they can make an informed decision about their next steps

18:27

Aquarius calls Tunisian MRCC to seek instructions and is asked to call back the following day

August 22, 2018
10:31

Aquarius calls Tunisian MRCC to update about the situation and seek instructions

16:09

Aquarius calls Tunisian MRCC to seek instructions

18:39

Aquarius informs Tunisian Navy by email that it remains in standby and awaits instructions

August 23, 2018
07:16

Aquarius updates Tunisian Navy by email and informs of worsening weather conditions

10:57

Aquarius calls the Tunisian Navy to seek instructions and is asked to call the Tunisian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

11:20

Aquarius calls the Tunisian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, no reply

11:31

Aquarius calls back the Tunisian Navy and asks to be contacted by email. Tunisian Navy asks to call back later on

14:26

Aquarius calls back the Tunisian Navy and receives no instructions

14:44

Aquarius emails the Tunisian Navy to seek instructions

21:55

Aquarius informs the Tunisian Navy by email of intentions to proceed to a standby position closer to the shore

August 24, 2018
08:53

Aquarius calls the Tunisian MRCC to seek instructions and is informed that the Tunisian MRCC is still awaiting instructions from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

11:10

Aquarius reaches the new standby position, at 13nm from the coast of Tunisia

15:19

Aquarius calls the Tunisian MRCC to seek instructions

18:12

Aquarius informs the Tunisian Navy by email that it is standing-by for instructions

23:33

Aquarius receives an email from the Tunisian Navy, asking to proceed to a rendezvous point

August 25, 2018
08:13

The transfer of the 5 survivors onto a Tunisian Navy boat is completed. They decided to go back to Tunisia because of the lack of other options

08:20

Aquarius resumes navigation towards Marseille