OPERATION - 9-17 June 2018

SITUATION RECAP of the last SAR Operations

Last update 17/06/2018 – 14:30 (All times in UTC+2)

– Aquarius rescued 230 people from 2 rubber boats in distress off coast Libya during the night between the 09th and the 10th of June.
– The second boat in distress was sinking during the rescue operation.
– 400 survivors have been transferred onboard Aquarius from a cargo ship and 3 Italian governmental ships.
– The Aquarius stand-by 48 hours between Malta and Italy.
– 524 survivors have been transfered onboard 2 gouvernemental ships, which braught them in convoy, together with Aquarius (with 106 survivors remaining onboard) to a place of safety in Valencia (Spain).
– After cross-checking testimonies from the survivors, the Aquarius reported 2 missing people on the group of survivors.
– All the operations were under the responsibility of the MRCC Rome, from the first distress alert until the disembarkation in Spain.

June 9, 2018

Italian MRCC informs Aquarius about a SAR operation in progress in oilfield Farwah and instructs Aquarius to assist and to proceed at full speed.

Latitude: 35.3691667
Longitude: 14.851111111111

Following the instruction from the ITTMRCC to proceed to a distress position close to Farwah Oilfield., the Aquarius starts a 3rd Diesel Generator in order to increase speed to maximum speed.

Received Inmarsat-C distress alert about SAR case 391, rubber boat adrift in psn 33°26’N 013°47’E at 09:45, departed from Garabulli – Libya. Reported about 150ppl on board.

Latitude: 33.433
Longitude: 13.783

MV Aquarius is instructed by the ITMRCC to divert its Course and proceed to SAR case 391.

MV Aquarius proceeds to distress psn at maximum speed

ETA to distress psn 18:45

Received information that rubber boat has been spotted by EUNAVFOR MED aircraft and confirmed to be adrift in abovementioned position. Received information that MV Asso Ventiquattro is OSC for SAR case 391 and is proceeding to distress psn with ETA 18:00B. Received information that MT Anwar Al Khalij (Libyan flag) has been tasked to proceed to ditress position

MRCC Rome sent the rescue plan of the SAR Case 391 to the Tug Asso 24, which has been desginated OSC.

Aquarius established VHF ch.16/10 communication with MV Asso 24, who reports her ETA to distress psn 18:15B and ETA of MT Anwar Al Khalij approx. 17:00B.

Aquarius position 34°14’N 014°00’E. Established VHF ch.16/10 communication with MT Anwar Al Khalij, which is in psn 33°29.2’N 013°44.8’E and reports to be at 2 Nm from the rubber boat SAR 391.

Received on Inmarsat-C handover reference from IMRCC, informing that Libyan Coast Guard assumes responsibility on SAR case 391.

MV Aquarius is instructed by phone to proceed to psn 34°00’N 013°00’E for RDV with ITCG patrol vessels CP267, CP319, CP312 in order to perform transfer operation of approx. 280 rescued people onto MV Aquarius.

Aquarius’s position 34*09’N / 013*59’E.

Aquarius received a phone call from ITMRCC with information that 2 rubber boats with about 120 persons on board each have been spotted few minutes before by EUNAVFOR MED aircraft in position 33°41’N 013°57’E.

Vessel position 34°08’N 013°52’E. Both rubber boats reported to be Underway Heading north at approx. 4 kts. Designated SAR cases 392 and 393. MV Aquarius instructed to proceed to perform rescue operation on these 2 rubber boats.

Latitude: 33.683
Longitude: 13.95

Vsl psn 33°51.9’N 013°54.8’E.

Received sat. phone call from IMRCC with information that ENFM Helicopter is approaching the distress area, ETA 19:45B. MV Aquarius designated as OSC.

Vsl psn 33°45.7’N 013°56.9’E Radar and visual contact with 2 targets in psn 33°45.5’N 013°57.0’E, approx. 4 Nm from MV Aquarius. Sat phone call to IMRCC to report, received confirmation to initiate rescue operation.

Weather on scene: wind N 5 kts, waves less than 0,5 m, temperature 23°C, good visibility.

RHIB 1 and 2 in the water, start rescue operation.

Latitude: 33.7011111
Longitude: 13.950833333333

Received phone call from ITMRCC with instruction to collect 119 rescued people from MV Jolly Vanadio upon completion of rescue operation.

RHIB 1 delivers 1st shuttle of rescued people on board MV Aquarius.

Received written instruction via email from IMRCC to transship onto MV Aquarius n. 119 migrants on board of M/V JOLLY VANADIO (case EV SAR n. 395), n. 286 migrants from Italian CPVs CP319, CP 267, CP 312, (cases EV SAR n. 386, n. 388, n. 390 ) upon completion of ongoing rescue operation.

Italian MRCC reports by SafetyNET (Inmarsat) that the rubber boat in which the Aquarius is rescuing is sinking, asking to all assets in the area to provide assistance.

June 10, 2018

Established VHF contact with Italian Navy helicopter arriving on scene.

Received sat. phone call from IMRCC to update situation. Italian Navy ship San Giusto is approaching to provide assistance.

Received VHF call from RHIBs of San Giusto. Informed that ETA to rescue scene is in 10 minutes.

Received VHF call from CP312 approaching the scene.

Last shuttle of survivors from the distress scene to the Aquarius.

Sat. phone call to IMRCC to update situation.

Received instructions on the transfer operations to carry out from ITCG CPs.

All the rescue devices (RHIBs and rescue rafts) are recovered on deck.

CP312 alongside MV Aquarius. Start transfer operation of 129 survivors.

02:40 SAR Case 388: Completed transfer of 129 survivors from CP312
02:45 SAR Case 390: Start transfer of 64 survivors from Italian Coast Guard vessel CP319
02:50 SAR Case 390: Completed transfer of 64 survivors from CP319
03:02 SAR Case 286: Start transfer 88 survivors from Italian Coast Guard vessel CP267

88 survivors rescued by MV Vos Thalassa and transfered onboard CP267 earlier during the night

Sat phone call to IMRCC to report situation. Agreed to perform the transfer operation of rescued people from MV Jolly Vanadio using the landing craft LCM68 from Italian Navy ship San Giusto.

Excerpt of the email from Aquarius to Italian RCC :

Please be informed that according to your instruction reported below, MV Aquarius has carried out the following rescue operations:

229 persons successfully recovered from 2 rubber boats (SAR cases 392 and 393)

also according to your instructions, MV Aquarius carried out the following transfer operations:

– from ITCG CP312: 129 rescued persons (SAR case 388)

– from ITCG CP319: 64 rescued persons (SAR case 390)

– from ITCG CP267: 88 rescued persons (SAR case 386)

– from MV Jolly Vanadio: 119 rescued persons (SAR case 395)

Total number of rescued persons on board is 629.

As per your recent instruction received via Sat. phone MV Aquarius is now Heading North.

Please provide with information on the place of safety for the disembarkation of the rescued persons.

The Italian MRCC informs that the Italian Ministry of Interior proposes to Aquarius two options for a place of safety: Messina or Trapani.

Aquarius replied that she will revert soon with the decision.

Aquarius calls back the ITMRCC for confirmation of place of safety in Messina, for an ETA on the 11/06/2018 at 12:00, as per proposed by the ITMRCC earlier. ITMRCC replies that they will call back Aquarius in about 10 minutes for final confirmation.

The ITMRCC instructs to stand-by regarding place of safety as written instructions will follow shortly. The Aquarius keeps proceeding same Course and speed, awaiting further instructions from the ITMRCC.

Sent email to IMRCC, with concerned parties in CC. MV Aquarius acknowledges that PoS is not defined yet and requests prompt designation of PoS.

Received email from IMRCC to RCC Malta with MV Aquarius in CC. IMRCC requests RCC Malta to provide PoS to disembark all survivors on board MV Aquarius.

Latitude: 33.567
Longitude: 14.567

Sat. phone call to IMRCC to request information regarding PoS. IMRCC has still no response from RCC Malta. Written information will follow shortly.

Received email from IMRCC to RCC Malta with MV Aquarius in CC. IMRCC urges RCC Malta to acknowledge previous request.

ITMRCC has still no response from MTJRCC. MV Aquarius requested to call back at 19:00. Acknowledged by ITMRCC that Aquarius maintains Course and speed.

ITMRCC has still no response from MTRCC. ITMRCC unable to provide instruction for MV Aquarius.

Sent email to IMRCC, with concerned parties in CC. MV Aquarius acknowledges that PoS is not defined yet and urges IMRCC for designation of PoS.

Sent email to IMRCC, with concerned parties in CC. MV Aquarius acknowledges that PoS is not defined yet and urges IMRCC for designation of PoS, informing that “In two hours the vessel will be halfway between Malta and Sicily, and it would be very unfortunate that the vessel stopped awaiting for your further instructions as it would delay the safe disembarkation of the rescued people, also taking in consideration the high number of people on board which will soon challenge the supplies of food”

Received email from IMRCC, with concerned parties in CC, with instruction to stop the vessel in her current position (36°05’N 015°05’E), awaiting for further instruction regarding the PoS.

Latitude: 36.0666667
Longitude: 15.083333333333
21:50 Aquarius stops and stand-by as per Italian RCC instruction

June 11, 2018

Sent email to ITMRCC, with concerned parties in Cc, informing of the detailed medical and supplies situation on board MV Aquarius. Alerting that food supplies cannot last more than 24hrs and urging to grant PoS asap.

Maltese RCC replies to Italian RCC, with Aquarius and other parties in Cc.

Maltese RCC denies their responsibility on the SAR Cases and their obligation to provide a place of safety for the survivors onboard Aquarius.

Sent email to IMRCC, with concerned parties in CC, informing that health condition of rescued people on board MV Aquarius is at risk of deterioration over the next hours and requesting to take in the highest consideration the food supply situation. Taking note of RCC Malta message and urging to take immediate action to indicate a PoS.

Received email from IMRCC to Malta RCC with MV Aquarius in CC. IMRCC relays last MV Aquarius email and ask to RCC Malta to take appropriate action as MV Aquarius is in Malta SRR.

ITMRCC requests Aquarius by satellite phone to provide data about the number of unaccompanied minors, of pregnant women and of minors accompanied only by one adult. ITMRCC informs the Aquarius of potential transhipment operation from Aquarius to Italian coast guard ships and requests availability of Aquarius’ RHIB.

Sent email to IMRCC, with concerned parties in CC. MV Aquarius stresses that the requested information will be provided as soon as practicable and that besides food supplies issues, consideration should be taken for safety of the ship, sanitation and exposure of the rescued people. Stressing the urgent need to proceed to PoS asap.

The Maltese RCC sends email to the Italian MRCC copying Aquarius. It denies responsibility in the potential worsening of conditions onboard Aquarius and recommends Italian MRCC to authorise Aquarius to proceed North until a place of safety is assigned by the Italian MRCC as coordinating authority.

The Aquarius sends an email to the Italian MRCC, copying concerned parties, to report the number of unaccompanied minors and pregnant women on board, confirm that the number of minors accompanied by a single parent is unavailable, and sending the demographic breakdown of survivors on board. It also confirms that the RHIBs of Aquarius are unavailable to operate.

The Italian MRCC calls Aquarius informing that Italian Coast Guard CP 325 and CP 276 approaching to get ready for the Transshipment of the pregnant women from the Aquarius onto the Italian Coast Guard vessels if necessary.

Visual, Radar and VHF contact with CP325 and CP276

MV Aquarius requests to maintain minimum distance 3 NM in order to maintain adequate crowd control on the rescued people on board. Transfer of the pregnant women raises issues of both consent and of accompanying family members not authorised to be transferred along. Therefore on hold. Various communications with IMRCC and CP325 / CP276 on this subject until evening.

Armed forces of Malta inform Aquarius by satellite phone that an AFM craft will approach the Aquarius for food and water Resupply. ETA approximately 16:00.

Aquarius requests the Armed Forces of Malta, via VHF contact with AFM craft P02, to maintain a minimum distance of 3 Nautical Miles in order to maintain adequate crowd control of survivors on board while preparing for alongside approach.

17:38 Starts receiving resupply of food and water from Maltese military craft P02
17:45 Resupply completed

Aquarius sends email to Italian MRCC, copying concerned parties, to inform of the medical conditions of pregnant women on board and request additional information.

Email excerpt:

From: Aquarius

To: Italian MRCC

“Please be informed that we have 6 pregnant women on board at this time. Only 2 need immediate medical attention and would benefit from prompt onshore attention.

The other 4 are stable and from a medical perspective we do not consider their pregnancy as a disease or condition that requires evacuation and therefore we have not requested this for these asymptomatic pregnant women.

3 of the pregnant women have their husbands onboard and one of the husbands is a medical case.

Before any disembarkation of any persons, the individual must fully consent and in order to do this we must explain to them what will happen after their arrival in Italy, both medically and in terms of the asylum process.

Please inform me of these details so we can make an informed consent process with each individual as we do for any medical evacuation.

  • To which hospital and location will the women be evacuated?
  • What is the medical capacity on board the evacuation vessel in regards to medical equipment and staff?
  • Will the husbands be able to evacuate with the women?
  • Will the evacuees be able to enter the normal asylum process as is their right?

As soon as we have this clear information from you we will be able to make an informed and shared decision with the patients as to whether they will be evacuated.”

Aquarius receives Inmarsat-C message from MRCC Madrid, informing that Spanish Maritime Authority is offering the possibility to receive Aquarius in the port of Valencia.

Spanish MRCC calls Aquarius asking for Inmarsat-C message sent from Spanish MRCC to Aquarius receipt confirmation. Aquarius confirms receipt of message and informs that will reply by email.

Aquarius sends email to Spanish MRCC, copying Italian MRCC and other concerned parties, acknowledging receipt of availability to receive Aquarius in Valencia and informing that due to overcrowded conditions, safety and security concerns, Aquarius can only sail safely to Spain with a maximum of 100 survivors.

Email excerpt

From: Aquarius

To: Spanish MRCC

” Please be informed that from beginning of SAR operations we are still under full coordination of MRCC Rome, who instructed me as a Master to receive on board 400 people from three Italian Coast Guard vessels and one Italian flagged merchant ship, apart of 229 persons rescued at sea by MV Aquarius. Total amount of rescued persons on board is 629.

Presently my vessel is in overcrowded condition, only women and children are accommodated inside accommodation and all 541 men are accommodated on open weather decks. Therefore it is unsafe for proposed voyage from my present location to Valencia under the present conditions. It would be unsafe also for the ship and her crew to afford such a long transit under these conditions.

Please take in consideration that the weather forecast is showing condition to deteriorate in the next days.

The vessel is in shortage of food supplies for such a large amount of people and the life saving appliances do not cover all persons currently on board.

Maintaining all these people on board for an extended period of time may raise security concerns as well.

All rescued persons are at sea already over 72 hrs and they are in need of being delivered to a safe port as soon as possible without any further delay.

All above considered, only condition under which MV Aquarius could safely sail to Spain is with a maximum number of rescued persons of 100 after transfer of exceeding passengers.

Under these circumstances I  would appreciate if you could coordinate with MRCC Rome to provide me with an option which takes in the utmost consideration the safety of my ship, her crew and all the rescued persons on board.

Informing MRCC Madrid that MV Aquarius is under full coordination of MRCC Rome. Informing that due to overcrowded condition, safety and security concerns, MV Aquarius can only sail safely to Spain with a maximum number of rescued people of 100. Requesting MRCC Madrid to coordinate with MRCC Rome.”

Spanish MRCC informs Aquarius via email that Spanish Maritime Authorities will also grant the port of Palma de Mallorca to receive Aquarius, and requests information on the most urgent needs regarding the humanitarian situation on board.

Italian MRCC calls Aquarius informing of food Resupply around 06:00-07:00 on the following morning and of a planned Transshipment of about 500 survivors from Aquarius to two Italian Navy and Coast Guard ships scheduled on following morning.

Italian MRCC informs Aquarius of details about Resupply, scheduled at 06:30 from SV Nos Arries by 3 shuttles via workboat, and Transshipment of rescued people to take place afterwards. It also informs that the PoS and place of safety will be Valencia or Mallorca.

June 12, 2018

Acknowledging the availability of Mallorca and stressing that Aquarius is in contact and under the coordination of IMRCC, who is informed of the need for Aquarius to transship a part of the rescued people before commencing any long range voyage. Informing MRCC Madrid of the current medical situation on board and the needs of humanitarian care supplies, as already sent to IMRCC.

Aquarius sent an email to ITMRCC acknowledging planned supply and transhipment. Requesting written action plan for these operations.

Confirmed that 2 military ships will arrive on scene to tranship a part of rescued people who are on board MV Aquarius.

Aquarius received phone call from ITMRCC regarding Transshipment operation of rescued people from Aquarius to IT CG CP940 (Nave Dattilo) and IT Navy P410 (Nave Orione).

Expected rescued people remaining on board Aquarius after transhipment approx. 100/120 to be disembarked in PoS Valencia or Mallorca. Aquarius requests to ITMRCC to provide with information on the capabilities of the military ships.

05:30 Italian supply vessel Nos Aries informs Aquarius for an ETA at 06:30 for resupply
06:01 Italian RCC informs Aquarius about the medical and accomodation facilities of the 2 Italian gouvernemental ships in charge of the transit to Valencia

Sent email to IMRCC, with concerned parties in CC. Requesting written confirmation of PoS for Aquarius and 2 military ships.

Workboat of SV Nos Aries alongside MV Aquarius. Start receiving supplies.

Aquarius received phone call from ITMRCC regarding information on the forthcoming Transshipment operation. P410 ETA in approx. 2 hrs. CP940 ETA in approx. 3 hrs

08:05 End of resupply from Italian supply vessel Nos Aries

Aquarius received email from IMRCC confirming that designated PoS is Valencia.

08:30 Start food preparation and distribution to the survivors

Aquarius sends email to ITMRCC, with concerned parties in CC.

Informing that preparation of transhipment operation will take some time as the rescued people need to be fed first, then properly briefed on the forthcoming transhipment and voyage to Spain.

Sent email to IMRCC, with concerned parties in CC. Forwarding Aquarius medical team questions and concerns regarding the planned transhipment and voyage to Valencia.

Italian RCC informs Aquarius about the action plan for the transit to Valencia via email. CP940 is designated as OSC.

13:42 Italian RCC requests Aquarius to get ready for the transfer of survivors as soon as possible

The transfer operation will be done in 3 shuttles via the Italian Coast Guard speed craft CP325.

Latitude: 36.0672222
Longitude: 15.184722222222
16:30 End of transfer of 250 survivors from Aquarius to Italian military ship Orione

Italian MRCC requests intention of Aquarius regarding the 2 pregnant women via email.

Aquarius sent an email to ITMRCC informing that after consultation of medical doctor and midwife on board there is no need of medical evacuation of the pregnant women.

MV Aquarius ready to proceed to Valencia upon instruction of CP940 as OSC.

CP940, as OSC, advise to Stand By Engine. Convoy ETD in 15 minutes.

Commence sea passage in convoy with Italian Coastguard vessel CP940 and Italian Navy ship Orione P410. The Italian RCC designated the Italian coastguard vessel CP940 as OSC. CP940 will lead the convoy, Aquarius in the middle, Italian navy ship Orione will follow. Safety distance of 1 Nautical Miles between the ships. Working channel will be VHF 72.

June 13, 2018

as per OSC instruction, convoy proceeding to Marsala road for Resupply of Provisions.

CP303 alongside. Start receiving supplies.

Italian coast guard boat CP303 cast off. Resumed sea passage in convoy under OSC instruction.

June 14, 2018

Sent email to ITMRCC, informing that by cross-checking testimonies recently collected on board from the people rescued in SAR events 392/393, it is confirmed that two people are reported missing.

as per OSC instruction, convoy proceeding off the coast of Olbia (Sardinia) for Resupply of Provisions. ETA to RDV in 20 minutes.

Italian Coastguard boat CP273 alongside Aquarius to transfer food and non-food items.

Latitude: 40.8506
Longitude: 9.9517