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Last update 19/08/2018 – 09h53 (All times in UTC+2)

Rescue operation North of Tunisia, 5 survivors


– On Friday, while it was on its way to Marseille, Aquarius overheard a VHF call from a sailing vessel, reporting a boat “with migrants on board” at 10 nautical miles from Aquarius position.

– Aquarius proceeded to the position to assess the situation and stabilise if necessary. It informed the Tunisian and Italian MRCCs about the alert.

– After Aquarius RHIB had stabilised the boat in distress, a Tunisian patrol boat arrived on scene. 2 people jumped into the water without lifejackets and were immediately rescued by the Aquarius RHIB. The 3 other people onboard the rubber boat were rescued a few moments later and transferred safely onboard the Aquarius, with the agreement of the Tunisian patrol boat.

– Since Friday evening, Aquarius is standing-by at 43 nautical miles from the Tunisian coast, in contact with the Tunisian and French MRCCs, waiting for clarification about the disembarkation of the 5 survivors.

– On Saturday afternoon, a Tunisian Navy vessel approached Aquarius to transfer the 5 survivors. Aquarius requested it to standby while it seeks guidance from UNHCR since it remains concerned that returning the survivors to their home country could be a breach of international refugee law. The Tunisian Navy vessel acknowledged and left the area at the end of the afternoon.

– On Sunday, Aquarius remains near the standby position but is moving slowly for the comfort of the people on board due to the slight increase in swell. It awaits guidance from UNHCR.

August 19, 2018
August 18, 2018
August 17, 2018

A RHIB proceeds to Tunisian Patrol Boat to ask for instructions, no instructions received. Tunisian Patrol Boat is informed that RHIB intends to bring the survivors onto Aquarius and does not object

SAR Operations North of Tunisia (2018.08.17-19)