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

SITUATION RECAP: The 141 survivors have disembarked in Malta

Last update: 15h25 (all times in UTC+2)

– On Friday, Aquarius rescued two wooden boats in the international waters of the Libyan Search and Rescue Region. The Libyan Joint Rescue Coordination Centre assumed coordination and provided SAR case numbers.

– On Saturday, Aquarius has been instructed by the Libyan JRCC to “contact another MRCC and ask for place of safety” for the disembarkation of the 141 people onboard.

– Sunday, while proceeding north since 11h00 in the morning, Aquarius has been instructed by the Libyan JRCC to conduct a rescue of 10 people in distress. Aquarius searched for the boat which continued heading north and found it as it entered the Maltese SRR. With Maltese authorization, Aquarius provided lifejackets, food and water to the people on the boat, who informed Aquarius that they would like to continue their way north.

– Aquarius escorted the fiberglass boat with the rescue RHIB, ensuring the safety of the people, under the instruction of the Maltese JRCC. Once reaching the Italian SRR, the people onboard the fiberglass boat have been taken by an Italian Coast Guard vessel. Aquarius resumed navigation to the North.

– On Sunday and Monday, Aquarius received three distress alerts for the same boat, sent to all ships in the area via INMARSAT by the Italian MRCC. The distress alerts inform that the rubber boat departed from Al Khoms (Libya) at 22:00 on August 11th with about 150 persons onboard.

– On Monday and Tuesday, Aquarius remained in standby at 32 Nautical miles from the European coast with 141 survivors onboard. According to the medical staff of MSF, the condition of the survivors was stable.

– Aquarius already requested a place of safety to Malta and Italy on Saturday, as the Libyan JRCC instructed Aquarius to contact other MRCCs. Both refused to coordinate the disembarkation of the survivors to a place of safety.

– On Wednesday, Aquarius received instructions to proceed to the port of Valletta from Maltese authorities.

– Informed that the Maltese authorities do not consider the 141 people onboard as survivors of a SAR event and that the disembarkation will not unfold under SAR regulation nor be coordinated by Maltese RCC, Aquarius requests the Libyan RCC to handover coordination to the Maltese RCC.

– The 141 survivors have disembarked in Malta.


June 29, 2018
July 25, 2018
August 1, 2018
August 2, 2018
August 3, 2018
August 4, 2018
August 5, 2018

Aquarius reaches the patrolling area off the Libyan coast

August 6, 2018

Receives call from Colibri, informing of end of patrol

August 7, 2018
August 8, 2018

Two RHIB recovered, Aquarius resumes patrolling

August 9, 2018

Aquarius stops for rescue exercises

August 10, 2018

First visual contact with a possible boat in distress


SAR Case 656: Radar contact with wooden boat, position 33°29,2′ N, 012°02,9′ E


SAR Case 656: Rescue of a small wooden boat completed, 25 survivors safely onboard Aquarius

Latitude: 33.482
Longitude: 12.048

SAR Case 656/657: Libyan Coast Guard call Aquarius on VHF, asking information about situation

August 11, 2018
August 12, 2018

Aquarius contact via VHF the Maltese aircraft patrolling in the area, who has no information about SAR case 661


Aquarius calls Maltese RCC to provide the fibreglass boat a torch light during night


Maltese RCC replies to Aquarius’ email saying that it is not taking part in Fontex Operation Themis and that Aquarius should contact Frontex or Italy as the host country


Maltese RCC requests Aquarius to call when at 16nm from Lampedusa, to provide current position, and course and speed of the fibreglass boat


Italian MRCC informs that the fibreglass boat will be rescued by an Italian rescue boat upon entering the “Italian SRR”

August 13, 2018

An Italian Coast Guard vessel rescues the fibreglass boat as it reaches the overlapping Italian and Maltese SRR


Aquarius calls Italian MRCC to inform of internet problems and asks to be contacted by telephone if necessary


Aquarius calls Maltese RCC to inform of internet problems and asks to be contacted by telephone if necessary

August 14, 2018
August 15, 2018

Aquarius receives instruction to proceed to the port of Valletta from Maltese authorities


Aquarius is underway to the port of Valletta


Malta Transport Centre acknowledges receipt of email without providing guarantees


Disembarkation of the 141 survivors starts