Rescue Report No. 6: Crew rescues more than 400 people from distress at sea in nine rescue operations

Raphael Schumacher / SOS Humanity

During the first five rescues, the crew of Humanity 1 rescued a total of 199 people, including over 40 minors. The first rescue of 36 people was in the night of 30 June 2023. The Italian authorities assigned Humanity 1 to the Italian port of Ortona where the survivors could go ashore savely. In the evening of 30 June and the night of 1 July, the crew of Humanity 1 rescued a total of 163 people from distress at sea in four rescue operations in international waters within just 8 hours. Furthermore, two people had to be emergency evacuated.

After 197 survivors had safely disembarked in Ortona, the crew of Humanity 1 returned to the area of operation and rescued 204 people from distress in four rescues in the afternoon and early evening of 11 July. Two survivors had to be evacuated for medical reasons together with three relatives. Furthermore, the crew stabalized two more boats until about 100 surivors could be rescued by the Italian Coast Guard. The port of Ancona, Italy, 1,400 kilometres away, was assigned as a place of safety. There, the survivors could go ashore on 15 July.

Last update: 15 July 2023

  • Rescue Operations
  • Survivors
  • Minors
  • Pregnant women
  • Icon mit Steuerrad in den SOS-Humanity Farben blau und gelb.

    3 days crossing from the first five rescues to disembarkation. 3 days crossing from the last four rescues to disembarkation.

  • Grafik Rettungsring gelber Kreis mit blauem Rettungsring

    1,300 kilometres from position of rescue to the assigned port of Ortona. 1,400 kilometres from position of rescue to the assigned port of Ancona.

  • Grafik Gelbes Herz mit drei blauen Herzlinien

    Nationalities: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Gambia (the), Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, South Sudan, Ghana, Niger (the), Sudan (the)

  • Icon Herzfrequenz in den Farben von SOS Humanity.

    Medical situation aboard: Many of the rescued suffer from skin diseases, some show signs of torture or sexual violence. One person suffers from fuel burns. Some women are pregnant. Four survivors have to be emergency evacuated for medical reasons together with three relatives.

Search and rescue operations

Karte zur Visualisierung der Rescue Operations der Humanity 1 während der sechsten Rotation.


30 June 2023, morning Last night, our crew rescued 36 people from an overcrowded and unseaworthy boat in international waters. After several days at sea, they are dehydrated and weakened but are now receiving initial care on board the Humanity 1. Early in the morning, our crew spotted another emergency case: a wooden boat with about 50 people on board. In agreement with the Italian authorities, the crew stayed close and waited until the people were rescued by a coast guard vessel. The Italian authorities have assigned Ortona, Italy, as a port of disembarkation for the survivors on board Humanity 1 – that’s a distance of 1,260 km.

30 June 2023, evening In a 2nd rescue, the crew of Humanity 1 rescued 27 people from a metal boat in distress with coordination from MRCC Rome. Among them are a pregnant woman and several unaccompanied minors. The rescue was completed by 9 pm. 2 of the 36 survivors from the 1st rescue were emergency evacuated by the Italian Coast Guard just afterward. Their health condition had deteriorated. Their boat was at sea for 5 days – several days without water & food, and survivors had to drink seawater. In stormy weather, 39 people were rescued from distress at sea in a 3rd rescue, including many women and two infants. Several of the survivors show signs of physical violence. The rescue, coordinated by MRCC Rome, was completed at 11 pm.

1 July, morning In the early hours of the morning, 46 and 51 people were rescued from two further metal boats in distress in a 4th and 5th rescue. Both boats were spotted from aboard Humanity 1 and the rescues were authorised by MRCC Rome. The survivors and crew members are exhausted. The Humanity 1 continues heading towards the assigned port of Ortona. There are now 197 survivors safely on board and being cared for, among them 25 women and over 40 minors.

4 July, afternoon After three and a half days of sailing, the Humanity 1 reached the port of Ortona this afternoon. The first of the 197 rescued people have just disembarked: Women with small children and mothers-to-be.

4 July, evening Today at 9 p.m., all the 197 survivors safely disembarked after up to five days on board the Humanity 1. These people have suffered considerably and travelled far. They fled from Tunisia, where they were staying previously, across the Mediterranean Sea. Also in Tunesia, they are neither welcome nor save. There, people on the move are facing racist hostilities, deportation practices and violence perpetrated by the Tunisian authorities. Humanity 1 is currently still in the port of Ortona. However, the crew is already preparing to return to the area of operation as soon as possible.

RHIB neben einem Boot mit Geflüchteten auf dem Mittelmeer.
Joshua Wedler / SOS Humanity

7 July 2023, afternoon Today, the Humanity 1 sails back to the area of operation. The crew uses the crossing for training and preparations for possible rescues.

11 July 2023, afternoon This afternoon until early evening, the crew of Humanity 1 rescued a total of 204 people from distress in four different rescues. The survivors had set out from Tunisia on overcrowded, unseaworthy metal boats without life jackets. After being rescued, two of the survivors, including a pregnant woman in labour, were evacuated for medical reasons by the Italian authorities, along with three relatives. Our crew also stabilized around 100 people on two other metal boats until the Italian Coast Guard arrived and took the people on board.

11 July 2023, evening With 199 survivors on board, the Humanity 1 is now on her way to the assigned port of Ancona, 1,400 km from the last position of rescue. The transit of at least three days is an additional, unnecessary burden for the survivors on board, among them several pregnant women, around 50 unaccompanied minors, including several children and babies and a pregnant girl. We demand the immediate assignment of a closer place of safety.

15 July 2023, afternoon Today, shortly after 10:00 to about 14:00, all 199 survivors disembarked safely from Humanity 1 in Ancona, Italy.

Impressions from aboard:

Ein Boot mit Flüchtenden beleuchtet von der Humanity 1 in der Nacht auf dem Mittelmeer.
Raphael Schumacher / SOS Humanity
Die Crew der Humanity 1 beim Look-Out mit Ferngläsern im Hintergrund das Meer.
Raphael Schumacher / SOS Humanity
Zweiter Offizier der Humanity 1 in der Nacht auf dem RHIB bei einer Rettung auf dem Mittelmeer.
Raphael Schumacher / SOS Humanity
Eine Gerettete und ihr Kind tagsüber auf der Humanity 1 nach der Flucht übers Mittelmeer
Raphael Schumacher / SOS Humanity
Zwei Gerettete mit orangen Rettungswesten auf dem RHIB der Humanity 1 lachend.
Raphael Schumacher / SOS Humanity
Gerettete und Crew-Mitlgieder blicken aus den Fenstern der Humanity 1 auf das Meer Richtung Italien.
Raphael Schumacher / SOS Humanity
Frau und ihr Kind von oben wie sie von Bord der Humanity 1 gehen in Italien
Raphael Schumacher / SOS Humanity
RHIB mit Crew der Humanity 1 auf dem Weg zu einem Boot mit Geflüchteten auf der Route von Tunesien
Raphael Schumacher / SOS Humanity
Leeres Boot im Vordergrund, im Hintergrund das RHIB von SOS Humanity und die Humanity 1
Raphael Schumacher / SOS Humanity
Crew Mitglied mit gelbem Helm und blauer Jacke von SOS Humanity verteilt Rettungwesten an Geflüchtete an Bord eines Bootes.
Raphael Schumacher / SOS Humanity
Gerettete Person mit oranger Rettungsweste geht an Bord der Humanity 1
Raphael Schumacher / SOS Humanity
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SOS Humanity e.V.

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