Rescue Report No. 5: Crew rescues 88 people

Geflüchtete Personen bei der Rettung von einem blauen Holzboot auf das RHIB der Humanity 1, das Rettungsboot von SOS Humanity.
Max Hirzel / SOS Humanity

On the morning of May 26, 2023, our crew was able to rescue 88 people – including eleven minors, ten of them unaccompanied. Those rescued were at sea for three days without rescue or navigation equipment before we were able to take them aboard Humanity 1. Although the survivors report a second boat, Italian authorities order us to return. We are assigned the port of Livorno, Italy, 1400 kilometers away.

Last updated 30.05.23


25 May 23 Yesterday, the Italian Rescue Coordination Centre alerted nearby vessels – including Humanity 1 – about a boat with 27 people on board in distress in international waters off the coast of Libya. The reconnaissance aircraft Seabird (Sea-Watch) was able to spot the overcrowded boat.

The Humanity 1 was subsequently able to ascertain from the merchant ship P. Long Beach (belonging to Performance Shipping Inc.) that all 27 people had been brought on board the vessel and were being taken back to Libya. Our captain called the ship multiple times to emphasise that this constitutes an illegal pushback and thus a violation of international maritime and human rights law.

For the past 48 hours, the search for another boat in distress with around 500 people on board has so far been in vain.

26 May 23 This morning, the crew of Humanity 1 rescued 88 people from an overcrowded, unseaworthy wooden boat in international waters as rain set in. The rescued people had been at sea for 3 days without lifejackets and are now safely onboard Humanity 1.

The Humanity 1 is assigned the port of Livorno, Italy, 1400 kilometers away. That means four days of travel. Although the survivors report a second boat, Italian authorities order us to go back to Italy. The MRCC Rome ignores our request to coordinate the case. It refers to the health of the those rescued, but at the same time expects them to spend four more days on board.

30 May 23 After a 4-day journey, all 88 survivors – 10 of whom are minors – were safely disembarked in the northerly Italian port of Livorno.
Before disembarkation, the survivors received new clothing and medical screenings by the Italian authorities, as well as a last snack from our crew. We hope that they will receive the protection they seek, and deserve, in Europe.

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