Chronology of Search and Rescue operations Humanity 1, 2nd Rotation

Humanity 1 2nd rotation 2nd rescue
Photo: Max Cavallari / SOS Humanity

Chronology:

Between Oct. 22 and Oct. 24, the crew of the rescue vessel Humanity 1 rescued a total of 180 people from three overcrowded boats in distress in the central Mediterranean. After a medical evacuation of one survivor on Oct. 27, 179 survivors remained onboard. According to maritime law, a rescue operation only ends with the disembarkation of survivors in a place of safety. Neither the Maltese nor Italian government complied with their legal duty, despite 21 requests made by the captain of the Humanity 1. After 12 days of waiting, the Italian government issued an illegal decree against the Humanity 1 on November 4th, which provided the basis for a selective disembarkation of survivors on November 6th in blatant violation of international law. In addition, the Humanity 1 was ordered to leave the port with the remaining survivors – an unlawful order with which the captain of Humanity 1 refused to comply. The remaining 35 survivors had to wait two more days until they were finally allowed to disembark.

The following chronology provides a detailed insight of the course of the search and rescue operations as well as the communication with all relevant state authorities. Despite being kept duly informed about all steps of the Humanity 1 and against their legal obligations, rescue coordination centres did not coordinate the search and rescue operations at sea and did not assign a place of safety for the 180 survivors.

22.10.2022

14:35 CEST While patrolling in the Maltese Search and Rescue Region (SRR), the Humanity 1 receives an email from Sea-Watch Airborne informing about a distress case. Reconnaissance aircraft Sea Bird 3 spotted a wooden boat in distress in position 35°01 N 016°05 E.

15:08 CEST Humanity 1 sends an email to the Maltese Rescue Coordination Centre (MTRCC) and Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre Rome (ITMRCC) informing them about the distress alert received via email by Sea-Watch Airborne and the intention to sail towards the boat in distress, around 54NM away.
No response from authorities.

19:17 CEST US navy vessel Kanawha informs Humanity 1 via VHF that they are on scene and handing over the On Scene Command (OSC) to a Merchant Vessel, MV Port Vera Cruz, as instructed by MTRCC.

19:51 CEST Humanity 1 in position 35°03 N 016°05 E sends an e-mail to MTRCC and ITMRCC informing them about the arrival on scene. Humanity 1 has visual contact on the boat in distress. Apprehension exists to the safety of the people on board. Due to the low visibility in darkness, after consulting OSC MV Port Vera Cruz via VHF, Humanity 1 decides to launch the RHIBs to proceed closer towards the boat in distress for a first assessment of the situation.
No response from authorities.

19:55 CEST Humanity 1 launches two RHIBs to assess the situation.

20:02 CEST Humanity 1 sends an email to MTRCC and ITMRCC informing about the launching of two RHIBs and their assessment of the situation: There are approximately 45 people on a wooden boat, no lifejackets. Humanity 1 informs MTRCC and ITMRCC that it is ascertained that the people on board are threatened by grave and imminent danger and that Humanity 1 will provide immediate assistance to these people in distress and rescue them without delay as required by international law.
No response from authorities.

20:02 CEST OSC MV Port Vera Cruz, who receives instructions from MRCC Malta, agrees on handing over the rescue operation to Humanity 1 via radio (VHF), standing by until rescue operation is completed.

20:10 CEST The RHIBs of Humanity 1 start the embarkation of people from the boat in distress.

20:53 CEST 1st rescue conducted: All 45 survivors are safely recovered on board Humanity 1.

21:18 CEST Both RHIBs are recovered on Humanity 1.

21:28 CEST Humanity 1 sends an email to MTRCC and ITMRCC to report that the people in distress have all been safely recovered on board Humanity 1.
No response from authorities.

23.10.2022

13:08 CEST In position 35°11 N 015°15 E Humanity 1 sends a Maritime Incident Report (MIR, summary of the search and rescue operation) together with a request for a Place of Safety (PoS) for the 45 survivors on board to MTRCC and ITMRCC.

24.10.2022

06:05 CEST While patrolling in the Maltese SRR, Humanity 1 receives a distress alert from Alarm Phone via email informing about a white rubber boat with approximately 100 people (among them 1 child, 3 women) in distress.

07:19 CEST Humanity 1, in position 34°31 N 013°30 E, informs the Libyan Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (LYJRCC), MTRCC and ITMRCC via email about the receipt of the distress alert and that Humanity 1 is heading towards the boat in distress about 100 NM away, to provide assistance.
No response from authorities.

Between 07:19 and 11:54 CEST, Humanity 1 receives 5 updated positions for the boat in distress from Alarm Phone via email.

14:22 CEST Humanity 1 in position 33°32 N 014°14 E informs LYJRCC, ITMRCC and MTRCC via email about the arrival on scene and the first assessment of the boat, confirming the distress situation: It is an overcrowded rubber boat with approximately 100 people on board.
No response from authorities.

14:23 CEST Humanity 1 launches both RHIBs to assess the situation on board of the boat in distress.

14:40 CEST A Libyan fast patrol boat arrives on scene and launches a RHIB.

14:44 CEST Humanity 1 receives another distress alert via radio (VHF) from an unknown person, calling himself a fisherman, who informs about a “black plastic boat with a lot of people urgently needing help” in position 33°16N 014°37E.

14:45 CEST First assessment of the RHIBs of Humanity 1 of the rubber boat indicates: people on the boat in distress are only partly equipped with lifejackets. Due to unstable condition of the sponsons of the rubber boat, several people fall overboard. Everyone in the water is afloat and embarks on a rescue raft deployed by Humanity 1’s RHIBs.

14:49 CEST Humanity 1 in position 33°32 N 014°14 E informs LYJRCC, ITMRCC and MTRCC via e-mail about the launch of the RHIBs and the situation of imminent danger with people overboard. Humanity 1 informs that Humanity 1 is providing immediate assistance to these people in distress and is rescuing them without delay.

14:52 CEST A second Libyan offshore RHIB approaches the scene from the west.

15:06 CEST The Libyan patrol boat casts off. The Libyan offshore RHIB stays on scene.

15:14 CEST The RHIBs of Humanity 1 start the evacuation of people from the rubber boat towards the Humanity 1.

15:49 CEST 2nd rescue conducted: All 113 survivors are safely recovered on board the Humanity 1.

16:16 CEST Humanity 1 in position 33° 29 N 014° 16 E sends an email to LYJRCC , ITMRCC and MTRCC to report that the people in distress have all been safely recovered on board Humanity 1.
No response from authorities.

16:43 CEST Humanity 1 informs LYJRCC, ITMRCC and MTRCC via email about the distress alert via VHF and that iHumanity 1 is heading towards the target, about 15 NM away, to provide assistance.
No response from authorities.

18:35 CEST Humanity 1 in position 33°26 N 014°36 E informs LYJRCC, ITMRCC and MTRCC via email about arrival on scene and confirms the distress case: 22 people on an unseaworthy and overcrowded black rubber boat. Humanity 1 informs that Humanity 1 will provide assistance to the people in distress.

18:44 CEST Both RHIBs start evacuating the 22 people from the boat in distress.

18:50 CEST Humanity 1, in position: 33°34 N 014° 39 E informs LYJRCC, ITMRCC and MTRCC via email about the assessment of the RHIB teams and confirms the distress case. It is ascertained that the people on board are threatened by grave and imminent danger and require immediate assistance. Humanity 1 informs about providing immediate assistance to these people in distress and rescuing them without delay.

18:54 CEST 3rd rescue conducted: All 22 survivors are safely recovered on board Humanity 1.

19:10 CEST Both RHIBs are recovered on board Humanity 1.

19:29 CEST Humanity 1 in position 33°34 N 014°38 E sends an email to LYJRCC, ITMRCC and MTRCC to report that the people in distress have all been safely recovered on board Humanity 1.
No response from authorities.

25.10.2022

12:55 CEST Humanity 1 in position 35°22 N 015°57 E sends an email to LYJRCC, ITMRCC and MTRCC with the two Maritime Incident Reports of the search and rescue operations on 24.10.2022 attached. Humanity 1 requests a Place of Safety – as defined in the Annex to the SAR Convention, paragraphs 1.3.2 and 3.1.9 and in the IMO Resolution MSC.167(78)) – to promptly disembark all 180 survivors on board.

26.10.2022

10:49 CEST In position 36°58 N 016°39 E Humanity 1 reiterates the Place of Safety request for the 180 survivors on board via email to ITMRCC and MTRCC.

27.10.2022

11:13 CEST Humanity 1, in position 37°19 N 016°09 E, reiterates the request for a Place of Safety via email to ITMRCC and MTRCC.

19:45 CEST Humanity 1 calls ITMRCC via satellite telephone to inform about a medical case on Humanity 1 that requires a medical evacuation.

19:55 CEST Humanity 1 calls Centro Internazionale Radio Medico (CIRM) via cell phone to request a medical evacuation. The doctor on board Humanity 1 explains the medical case in detail to the medics of CIRM. CIRM confirms the medical emergency.

20:16 CEST Humanity 1 calls ITMRCC to inform about the call with CIRM and to ask for confirmation of the medical evacuation. Humanity 1 receives instructions to proceed towards the direction of Catania port without entering to meet with the Italian Coast Guard boat conducting the evacuation.

20:30 CEST In position 37°27 N 015°36 E the respective person is medically evacuated from Humanity 1. 179 survivors remain on board Humanity 1.

28.10.2022

11:07 CEST Humanity 1, in position 37°38 N 015°46 E, reiterates the request for a Place of Safety for the 179 survivors onboard via email to ITMRCC and MTRCC.

17:45 CEST Humanity 1, in position 37°17 N 015°38 E reiterates the request for a Place of Safety for the 179 survivors onboard via email to MTRCC and ITMRCC.

29.10.2022

12:07 CEST Humanity 1, in position: 37°28 N 015°46 E reiterates the request for a Place of Safety for the 179 survivors onboard via email to MTRCC and ITMRCC.

20:26 CEST Humanity 1, in position 37°27 N 015°40 E, reiterates the request for a Place of Safety for the 179 survivors onboard via email to MTRCC and ITMRCC.

30.10.2022

11:25 CET Humanity 1, in position 37°08 N 015°51 E, reiterates the request for a Place of Safety for the 179 survivors onboard via email to MTRCC and ITMRCC.

19:57 CET Humanity 1, in position 37°16 N 015°51 E, reiterates the request for a Place of Safety for the 179 survivors onboard via email to MTRCC and ITMRCC.

31.10.2022

09:52 CET Humanity 1, in position 37°13 N 016°01 E, reiterates the request for a Place of Safety for the 179 survivors onboard via email to MTRCC and ITMRCC.

31.10.2022

20:14 CET Humanity 1, in position 36°49 N 015°40 E reiterates the request for a Place of Safety for the 179 survivors onboard via email to MTRCC and ITMRCC.

01.11.2022

11:40 CET Humanity 1, in position 37°04 N 015°41 E reiterates the request for a Place of Safety for the 179 survivors onboard via email to MTRCC and ITMRCC.

20:02 CET Humanity 1, in position 36°42 N 015°48 E reiterates the request for a Place of Safety for the 179 survivors onboard via email to MTRCC and ITMRCC.

02.11.2022

11:34 CET Humanity 1, in position 37°07 N 015°56 E reiterates the request for a Place of Safety for the 179 survivors onboard via email to MTRCC and ITMRCC.

21:15 CET Humanity 1, in position: 36°53 N 016°12 E reiterates the request for a Place of Safety for the 179 survivors onboard via email to MTRCC and ITMRCC.

03.11.2022

12:07 CET HUMANITY 1, in position: 37°32N 015°38E reiterates the request for a Place of Safety for the 179 survivors onboard via email to MTRCC and ITMRCC.

20:34 CET HUMANITY 1, in position: 37°06N 015°56E reiterates the request for a Place of Safety for the 179 survivors onboard via email to MTRCC and ITMRCC.

04.11.2022

11:58 CET HUMANITY 1, in position: 37°21N 015°32E reiterates the request for a Place of Safety for the 179 survivors onboard via email to MTRCC and ITMRCC.

20:20 CET HUMANITY 1, in position: 37°26.5N 015°26.2E reiterates the request for a Place of Safety for the 179 survivors onboard via email to MTRCC and ITMRCC.

20:42 CET HUMANITY 1 enters territorial waters off the Sicilian city of Catania due to bad weather conditions (storm with high waves and wind) after informing the Italian rescue coordination centre and consulting the responsible port authority.

23:20 CET HUMANITY 1 receives as decree from the Italian government. The decree prohibits the Humanity 1 from stopping in Italian territorial waters longer than is „necessary for rescue and assistance operations for people in emergency conditions and in precarious health conditions.“ Furthermore, it stipulates that all remaining persons must leave territorial waters.

05.11.2022

11:04 CET HUMANITY 1 in position: 37°33.4N 015°19E reiterates the request for a Place of Safety for the 179 survivors onboard via email to MTRCC and ITMRCC.

14:04 CET HUMANITY 1 receives an email, identifying the port of Catania, Sicilia as “the place for the rescue and assistance operations and in precarious health conditions.”

22:45 CET HUMANITY 1 arrives in Catania port.

06.11.2022

01:25 CET All minors, women and children are disembarked. After that, a triage takes place on the remaining adult men by external health staff, allegedly in order to evaluate who can be considered to be “in emergency condition and in precarious health condition”. As a result, 36 people have to remain on Humanity 1 supposedly not meeting these criteria.

08:00 CET One survivor faints and is brought to hospital with the ambulance after being in a critical mental condition as a consequence of being denied disembarkation. 35 people remain on the vessel.

10:21 CET HUMANITY 1 receives an email in which the harbour master of Catania asks Humanity 1 to leave Catania port with 35 protection seekers on bord before 13:00 CET. The captain of Humanity 1 rejects this referring to international law of the sea.

08.11.2022

19:15 CET Start of individual psychological consultations with the remaining survivors on board Humanity 1 by a medical team of the local health authorities in order to reassess their vulnerability.

21:00 CET Disembarkation of the remaining 35 survivors, who were stuck on Humanity 1.

22:00 CET Disembarkation of all remaining survivors onboard Humanity 1 is complete.

09.11.2022

15:40 CET Humanity 1 leaves Catania port.

 

Last updated: 22.11. 10:50 Uhr

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