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SITUATION RECAP: The 141 survivors have disembarked in Malta

Last update: 15h25 (all times in UTC+2)

– On Friday, Aquarius rescued two wooden boats in the international waters of the Libyan Search and Rescue Region. The Libyan Joint Rescue Coordination Centre assumed coordination and provided SAR case numbers.

– On Saturday, Aquarius has been instructed by the Libyan JRCC to “contact another MRCC and ask for place of safety” for the disembarkation of the 141 people onboard.

– Sunday, while proceeding north since 11h00 in the morning, Aquarius has been instructed by the Libyan JRCC to conduct a rescue of 10 people in distress. Aquarius searched for the boat which continued heading north and found it as it entered the Maltese SRR. With Maltese authorization, Aquarius provided lifejackets, food and water to the people on the boat, who informed Aquarius that they would like to continue their way north.

– Aquarius escorted the fiberglass boat with the rescue RHIB, ensuring the safety of the people, under the instruction of the Maltese JRCC. Once reaching the Italian SRR, the people onboard the fiberglass boat have been taken by an Italian Coast Guard vessel. Aquarius resumed navigation to the North.

– On Sunday and Monday, Aquarius received three distress alerts for the same boat, sent to all ships in the area via INMARSAT by the Italian MRCC. The distress alerts inform that the rubber boat departed from Al Khoms (Libya) at 22:00 on August 11th with about 150 persons onboard.

– On Monday and Tuesday, Aquarius remained in standby at 32 Nautical miles from the European coast with 141 survivors onboard. According to the medical staff of MSF, the condition of the survivors was stable.

– Aquarius already requested a place of safety to Malta and Italy on Saturday, as the Libyan JRCC instructed Aquarius to contact other MRCCs. Both refused to coordinate the disembarkation of the survivors to a place of safety.

– On Wednesday, Aquarius received instructions to proceed to the port of Valletta from Maltese authorities.

– Informed that the Maltese authorities do not consider the 141 people onboard as survivors of a SAR event and that the disembarkation will not unfold under SAR regulation nor be coordinated by Maltese RCC, Aquarius requests the Libyan RCC to handover coordination to the Maltese RCC.

– The 141 survivors have disembarked in Malta.

August 9, 2018
19:55

Aquarius hears VHF call from Libyan Coast Guard to offshore supply vessel regarding wooden boat

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Aquarius hears a VHF call on channel 16 from the Libyan Coast Guard to a merchant vessel, regarding the…

Aquarius hears a VHF call on channel 16 from the Libyan Coast Guard to a merchant vessel, regarding the position of “a wooden boat with immigration” with an unknown number of people on board. The merchant vessel informs the Libyan Coast Guard that it does not see the wooden vessel in the area at the moment and that it will call back if it obtains information.

The position is close to the Ensco 5004 oil platform and around 35 nautical miles away from Aquarius.

Aquarius alters course and starts moving into a position to assist if necessary.

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20:00

Aquarius hears VHF call from Libyan Coast Guard to another offshore supply vessel regarding same wooden boat

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Aquarius hears a VHF call on channel 16 from the Libyan Coast Guard to another offshore supply vessel, regarding…

Aquarius hears a VHF call on channel 16 from the Libyan Coast Guard to another offshore supply vessel, regarding the same wooden boat. The offshore supply vessel provides the position of the wooden boat when it spotted it about 1h30 ago: 33°42′ N, 012°.46.1′ E, travelling South at approximately 5 knots.

The Libyan Coast Guard ask whether the offshore supply vessel has information about the number of people on board. The offshore supply vessel did not see the number of people of onboard. It informs that it was a blue, wooden fishing boat and that it has not seen it since then.

Aquarius is heading towards the position of the wooden boat heard over VHF.

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20:15

Aquarius hears VHF conversations between Libyan Coast Guard and offshore supply vessel

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Aquarius hears several VHF conversations on distress channel 16 between Libyan Coast Guard and the second offshore supply vessel

Aquarius hears several VHF conversations on distress channel 16 between Libyan Coast Guard and the second offshore supply vessel contacted.

Offshore supply vessel says it had “no contact at all” with the wooden boat that it spotted.

The Libyan Coast Guard asks whether the offshore supply vesselhas a number of the Libyan Coast Guard“, as it is trying to contact someone [probably on the platform]. The offshore supply vessel informs that “there should be a Libyan Coast Guard” officer on the oil platform [close to where the offshore supply vessel finds itself].

[A few minutes later]

The offshore supply vessel asks the Libyan Coast Guard if they “can possibly give me a telephone number so your colleague can call you on the phone?”. The Libyan Coast Guard replies: “my telephone not possible because we have just the SIM card from Libyana-Almadar this is impossible here contact”. The offshore supply vessel informs that “Ensco was calling you on channel 16 but not reaching you”.

[A few minutes later]

Libyan Coast Guard asks the offshore supply vessel whether it sees the wooden boat, offshore supply vessel replies it “is gone off my radar”. Libyan Coast Guard asks to repeat the position, offshore supply vessel repeats the position.

Aquarius is heading towards the position of the wooden boat.

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23:02

Aquarius informs the Libyan JRCC of availability to help

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

As it nears the position where the wooden boat was spotted, Aquarius sends an email to the LYJRCC to…

As it nears the position where the wooden boat was spotted, Aquarius sends an email to the LYJRCC to inform of her availability to help:

“We are keeping a sharp lookout and will report to you any information which may help in the search.

Please be informed that I am currently patrolling at 18 N.m from this position, available to help if needed. My ship is ready to reach the maximum speed of 11 knots whenever required.

My ship is equipped with 3 fast rescue craft, a rescue team, a medical team, and enough aids equipment and resources to perform mass rescue operations and to take care of the survivors. I have the capacity to keep the survivors onboard and to transfer them to a place of safety.

Please acknowledge receipt of this message, confirm to me the occurrence of an alert phase, and update me about the situation.”

 

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23:50

Aquarius tries to call on satellite phone the three numbers of the Libyan JRCC without success

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

23h50 Aquarius calls on satellite phone the three numbers of the Libyan JRCC provided by the Global SAR Plan

23h50 Aquarius calls on satellite phone the three numbers of the Libyan JRCC provided by the Global SAR Plan on GISIS. No answer in any of the three phone numbers.

00h27 Aquarius calls again in the same phone numbers, no answer.

01h15 Aquarius calls again in the same phone numbers. Someone answers one of the phone numbers with very low level in English English.

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23:57

Aquarius starts an expanding square search pattern

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Aquarius starts an expanding square search pattern. Legal references “Any search and rescue unit receiving information of a distress incident shall initially…

Aquarius starts an expanding square search pattern.

Legal references

“Any search and rescue unit receiving information of a distress incident shall initially take immediate action if in the position to assist and shall, in any case without delay, notify the rescue co-ordination centre or rescue subcentre in whose area the incident has occurred.[Click for legal reference]

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August 10, 2018
01:31

Aquarius calls Libyan Coast Guard and merchant vessel on VHF

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

01h31 Aquarius calls Libyan Coast Guard in English on VHF  distress channel 16, no answer. 01h38 Aquarius calls offshore supply…

01h31 Aquarius calls Libyan Coast Guard in English on VHF  distress channel 16, no answer.

01h38 Aquarius calls offshore supply vessel on VHF channel 16, no answer.

01h51 Aquarius calls Libyan Coast Guard in Arabic on VHF distress channel 16, no answer.

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10:44

SAR Case 656: Aquarius reports to Libyan JRCC about people in distress requiring immediate assistance

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Aquarius sends email to Libyan JRCC, copying Italian MRCC, Maltese MRCC, Tunisian RCC, EUNAVFOR med, informing about a “distress

Aquarius sends email to Libyan JRCC, copying Italian MRCC, Maltese MRCC, Tunisian RCC, EUNAVFOR med, informing about a “distress case requiring immediate assistance”.

It’s part of the duties of the Master to inform the RCC responsible for the SRR about the evolution of the situation : “keep the RCC informed about conditions, assistance needed, and actions taken or planned for the survivors (see paragraph 6.10 regarding other information the RCC may wish to obtain);” [Read more]

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11:04

SAR Case 656: Rescue boats in the water to provide assistance to the boat in distress

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

2 rescue RHIB launched at sea to provide assistance with rescuers and medical team onboard. All team ready on…

2 rescue RHIB launched at sea to provide assistance with rescuers and medical team onboard. All team ready on deck to take in charge the survivors. Massive floating devices ready on deck in case of emergency.

It’s on the duty of the Master “to render assistance to any person found at sea in danger of being lost” and “to proceed with all possible speed to the rescue of persons in distress” according to the maritime convention [Click for legal reference]

 

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11:06

SAR Case 656: Aquarius calls Libyan JRCC by phone, no answer

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Aquarius calls by Iridium phone the three numbers of the Libyan JRCC provided on GISIS. No answer. It’s part…

Aquarius calls by Iridium phone the three numbers of the Libyan JRCC provided on GISIS. No answer.

It’s part of the duties of the Master to inform the RCC responsible for the SRR about the evolution of the situation : “keep the RCC informed about conditions, assistance needed, and actions taken or planned for the survivors (see paragraph 6.10 regarding other information the RCC may wish to obtain);” [Read more]

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11:09

SAR Case 656: Aquarius starts rescue operation

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

The RHIB of Aquarius started to evacuate the boat in distress and transfer the survivors into the Aquarius for…

The RHIB of Aquarius started to evacuate the boat in distress and transfer the survivors into the Aquarius for medical assistance and registration.

Legal reference

It’s on the duty of the Master “to render assistance to any person found at sea in danger of being lost” and “to proceed with all possible speed to the rescue of persons in distress” according to the maritime convention [Click for legal reference]

 

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11:10

SAR Case 656: Aquarius informs MRCC about the rescue operation in progress and the non-reply from the Libyan JRCC

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Aquarius calls Italian MRCC to inform about the visual of the wooden boat and that Libyan authorities do not…

Aquarius calls Italian MRCC to inform about the visual of the wooden boat and that Libyan authorities do not answer. Italian MRCC informs that Libyan authorities are coordinating.

in a case where the RCC responsible for the area where the survivors are recovered cannot be contacted, attempt to contact another RCC, or if that is impractical, any other Government authority that may be able to assist, while recognizing that responsibility still rests with the RCC of the area in which the survivors are recovered”; [Read more]

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11:15

SAR Case 656: Aquarius calls the Libyan Coast guards by VHF, no reply

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Aquarius calls the Libyan Coast Guards by VHF on distress channel 16, no reply. It’s part of the duties…

Aquarius calls the Libyan Coast Guards by VHF on distress channel 16, no reply.

It’s part of the duties of the Master to inform the RCC responsible for the SRR about the evolution of the situation : “keep the RCC informed about conditions, assistance needed, and actions taken or planned for the survivors (see paragraph 6.10 regarding other information the RCC may wish to obtain);” [Read more]

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11:37

SAR Case 656: Aquarius informs the Libyan JRCC by phone about the completion of the rescue operation

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Aquarius calls Libyan JRCC by Iridium phone. Libyan JRCC answers. Aquarius informs that rescue is completed and that an…

Aquarius calls Libyan JRCC by Iridium phone. Libyan JRCC answers. Aquarius informs that rescue is completed and that an update will come soon via email. No instructions received by the Libyan JRCC.

It’s part of the duties of the Master to inform the RCC responsible for the SRR about the evolution of the situation : “keep the RCC informed about conditions, assistance needed, and actions taken or planned for the survivors (see paragraph 6.10 regarding other information the RCC may wish to obtain);” [Read more]

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12:37

SAR Case 656: Aquarius informs the Libyan JRCC by email about the completion of the rescue operation

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Aquarius sends an email to the Libyan JRCC, copying ITMRCC, MTJRCC, TNMRCC, EUNAVFOR MED Sophia, informing that SAR operation…

Aquarius sends an email to the Libyan JRCC, copying ITMRCC, MTJRCC, TNMRCC, EUNAVFOR MED Sophia, informing that SAR operation is completed.

It’s part of the duties of the Master to inform the RCC responsible for the SRR about the evolution of the situation : “keep the RCC informed about conditions, assistance needed, and actions taken or planned for the survivors (see paragraph 6.10 regarding other information the RCC may wish to obtain);” [Read more]

Email from Aquarius to LYJRCC:

Regarding last email [10:44]. Please be informed that rescue operation has been completed. All rescued people are on board Aquarius. We tried to contact JRCC Libya via email, phone and VHF channel 16 before the rescue but no reply. Upon completion of rescue we called again JRCC Libya and were able to report that operation complete. We will send full report of condition of rescued people after the medical team has attended to them. For the time being the situation on board is stable and there are no medical emergencies.  We will remain in the area and continue to our patrol. We remain available for SAR if required.  SITREP and MIR to follow.”

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14:21

SAR Case 656/657: Libyan JRCC calls Aquarius for a situation update

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Aquarius receives phone call by Iridium from Libyan JRCC in order to get updates about the first rescue operation….

Aquarius receives phone call by Iridium from Libyan JRCC in order to get updates about the first rescue operation.

It’s part of the duties of the Master to inform the RCC responsible for the SRR about the evolution of the situation : “keep the RCC informed about conditions, assistance needed, and actions taken or planned for the survivors (see paragraph 6.10 regarding other information the RCC may wish to obtain);” [Read more]

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14:28

SAR Case 657: Aquarius reports to the Libyan JRCC about a wooden boat in distress and the assistance provided

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Aquarius sends en email to the LYJRCC, copying ITMRCC, MTJRCC and TNMRCC informing about wooden boat in distress and…

Aquarius sends en email to the LYJRCC, copying ITMRCC, MTJRCC and TNMRCC informing about wooden boat in distress and that Aquarius is currently proceeding to rescue all people.

It’s part of the duties of the Master to inform the RCC responsible for the SRR about the evolution of the situation : “keep the RCC informed about conditions, assistance needed, and actions taken or planned for the survivors (see paragraph 6.10 regarding other information the RCC may wish to obtain);” [Read more]

Email from Aquarius to LYJRCC:

“While patrolling M/V Aquarius had in visual contact a boat with people in danger in position 33º30,5 N 011º 49,5 E at 12:04Z. I am reporting to you that the situation is assessed as highly dangerous for the people on board the wooden boat.

I have every reason to believe that the Distress phase exists, because the target is an unseaworthy boat possibly taking on water, overcrowded, without any life-saving appliance such as lifejacket or liferaft. According to the sailing conditions and the weather conditions, I have every reason to believe that the people in distress are already weak, sick and potentially injured.

I am currently deploying the fast rescue crafts and proceeding to rescue all rescued people .

As per the UNCLOS, SOLAS and SAR Conventions, I therefore inform you that M/V Aquarius will provide immediate assistance to these people in distress and rescue them without delay. My ship has the capacity to recover all of the people, to provide medical care and to transfer them to a place of safety in a reasonable period of time.

I will keep you informed as soon as I have more information.

Please acknowledge receipt of this message.”

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15:28

SAR Case 657: Libyan JRCC acknowledges receipt of email about “wooden boat in distress” and confirms it is coordinating authority

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Libyan Coast Guard acknowledges receipt of email “wooden boat in distress” sent at 14h28 by Aquarius. Libyan Coast Guard

Libyan Coast Guard acknowledges receipt of email “wooden boat in distress” sent at 14h28 by Aquarius. Libyan Coast Guard confirms it is the coordinating authority for this SAR case and asks for information about the wooden boat.

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18:01

LYJRCC requests Aquarius to provide number of rescued people and to wait for instructions from Libyan JRCC

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

In an email, the LYJRCC requests Aquarius to provide the number of rescued people onboard and the number of…

In an email, the LYJRCC requests Aquarius to provide the number of rescued people onboard and the number of women, men and children. It also instructs to wait for instructions from Libyan JRCC.

Legal references:

According to the “RESOLUTION MSC.167(78) (Adopted on 20 May 2004): Guideline on the treatment of persons rescued at sea”, article 6.10:

“The RCC should seek to obtain the following information from the master of the assisting ship:
1. information about the survivors, including name, age, gender, apparent health and medical condition and any special medical needs;
2. the master’s judgment about the continuing safety of the assisting ship;
3. actions completed or intended to be taken by the master;
4. assisting ship’s current endurance with the additional persons on board;
5. assisting ship’s next intended port of call; .6 the master’s preferred arrangements for disembarking the survivors;
7.  any help that the assisting ship may need during or after the recovery operation; and
8. any special factors (e.g., prevailing weather, time sensitive cargo).”

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18:43

Aquarius provides list of rescued people onboard to the Libyan JRCC

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

As requested, Aquarius provides to the Libyan JRCC the list of rescued people on board the vessel. The breakdown…

As requested, Aquarius provides to the Libyan JRCC the list of rescued people on board the vessel. The breakdown details the gender, age, nationality and vulnerabilities of the survivors.

Legal references:

According to the “RESOLUTION MSC.167(78) (Adopted on 20 May 2004): Guideline on the treatment of persons rescued at sea”, Article 5.5, shipmasters should “keep the RCC informed about conditions, assistance needed, and actions taken or planned for the survivors.”

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21:53

Aquarius reports to Libyan JRCC about the situation onboard and asks for further guidance regarding the designation of a place of safety

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Aquarius reports to the Libyan JRCC about the situation onboard and asks for further guidance regarding the designation of…

Aquarius reports to the Libyan JRCC about the situation onboard and asks for further guidance regarding the designation of a place of safety.

It’s part of the duties of the Master to request guidance to the RCC in charge of the SRR where the rescue operation occurs : “[the ship Master should] comply with any relevant requirements of the Government responsible for the SAR region where the survivors were recovered, or of another responding coastal State, and seek additional guidance from those authorities where difficulties arise in complying with such requirements.” [Read more]

The responsibility to provide a place of safety, or to ensure that a place of safety is provided, falls on the Government responsible for the SAR region in which the survivors were recovered.”  [Read more]

(more…)

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August 11, 2018
14:15

Aquarius calls Libyan JRCC, seeking acknowledgment of receipt of email again

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Aquarius calls via satellite phone the Libyan JRCC again, seeking acknowledgment of receipt of email. The person on the…

Aquarius calls via satellite phone the Libyan JRCC again, seeking acknowledgment of receipt of email. The person on the phone does not have the email. Aquarius asks if the duty officer can contact Aquarius, the person on the phone says that someone will call Aquarius back.

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15:13

Aquarius informs Libyan JRCC by email that it awaits a phone call back

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Aquarius informs LYJRCC by email that it awaits a phone call back and that it will continue to contact…

Aquarius informs LYJRCC by email that it awaits a phone call back and that it will continue to contact the LYJRCC, as coordinating RCC of the SAR cases 656 and 657.

Email from Aquarius to LYJRCC

“Dear Sirs,

We understand, after having called you twice on the phone number 0021 821 444 67 99, that it is unclear whether you have received the emails below, where we kindly request your assistance in finding a suitable place of safety to disembark the 141 survivors onboard our vessel within a reasonable time.

As agreed over the phone, we are now awaiting a call back from an officer of RCC-Libya. We will continue to contact this RCC as the coordinating RCC of the SAR cases 656 and 657.

We thank you for your assistance.

Please acknowledge receipt of this email.

Best regards”

Read More
15:14

Aquarius calls Libyan JRCC, no instructions received

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Aquarius calls via satellite phone the LYJRCC, asking if the LYJRCC has been able to contact the duty officer…

Aquarius calls via satellite phone the LYJRCC, asking if the LYJRCC has been able to contact the duty officer and informing that Aquarius is still standing by for instructions from the LYJRCC. Aquarius also asks for a reply to the email sent earlier. Aquarius does not receive instructions.

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15:16

Aquarius calls a second Libyan JRCC number, no reply

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Aquarius calls another of the LYJRCC numbers provided on GISIS, no reply. Legal reference A fully capable RCC must…

Aquarius calls another of the LYJRCC numbers provided on GISIS, no reply.

Legal reference

A fully capable RCC must require the following capabilities: 

  • 24-hour availibility
  • Trained persons
  • Persons with a working knowledge of the English language
  • Charts which apply to the SRR (aeronautical, nautical, topographic and hydrographic)
  • Means of plotting
  • Ability to receive distress alerts, e.g from MCCs, CESs, etc.
  • Immediate communications with:
    • associated ATS units
    • associated RSCs
    • DF and position-fixing stations
    • associated CRSs
  • Rapid and reliable communications with:
    • parent agencies of SRUs
    • adjacent RCCs
    • designated meteorological offices
    • employed SRUs
    • alerting posts
  • Plans of operation
[Click here for the legal reference]
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15:16

Aquarius calls a third Libyan JRCC number and is asked to call back in 10 mn

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Aquarius calls a third of the LYJRCC numbers provided on GISIS. Aquarius informs it has sent emails to the…

Aquarius calls a third of the LYJRCC numbers provided on GISIS. Aquarius informs it has sent emails to the LYJRCC and is still standing by regarding replies and instructions. Aquarius informs the LYJRCC about the rescues conducted, the number of survivors onboard and the medical staff available on the vessel. Aquarius is asked to provide the coordinates of the positions where the rescues took place and to call back in 10 minutes.

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15:51

Libyan JRCC instructs Aquarius to contact another MRCC and ask for a place of safety

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

In an email, Libyan JRCC confirms that it is the coordinating authority and instructs Aquarius to contact another MRCC

In an email, Libyan JRCC confirms that it is the coordinating authority and instructs Aquarius to contact another MRCC for the designation of a Place of Safety.

Email from Libyan JRCC to Aquarius

“As coordination authority, I give you orders for Place of Safety: now you must contact another MRCC and ask for place of safety.”

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16:11

Aquarius confirms to Libyan JRCC that it will contact other RCCs to find a Place of Safety

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Replying to the LYJRCC email and copying the Italian MRCC and Maltese RCC, Aquarius acknowledges receipt of the confirmation…

Replying to the LYJRCC email and copying the Italian MRCC and Maltese RCC, Aquarius acknowledges receipt of the confirmation of the instruction to contact another MRCC and ask for a place of safety.

Email from Aquarius to LYJRCC:

“Dear Sir,
Good copy on your last email. We will contact other RCCs to find a Place of safety.
Best Regards”

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16:22

Aquarius calls back the third LYJRCC number as requested

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

As requested, Aquarius calls back the third LYJRCC number. LYJRCC on the phone does not give further instruction to…

As requested, Aquarius calls back the third LYJRCC number. LYJRCC on the phone does not give further instruction to Aquarius.

Aquarius informs that it “received instructions from JRCC Libya that we would contact another RCC to coordinate a Place of Safety. JRCC has asked us to contact another MRCC.”

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21:24

Aquarius requests the assistance of Italian MRCC and Maltese RCC in finding a place of safety

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Following the instruction of the Libyan JRCC to “contact another MRCC and ask for place of safety“, Aquarius requests…

Following the instruction of the Libyan JRCC to “contact another MRCC and ask for place of safety“, Aquarius requests the assistance of the Italian MRCC and Maltese RCC in finding a place of safety where all survivors can be disembarked as soon as possible.

Email from Aquarius to Italian MRCC and Maltese RCC

“Dear Sirs,

Please be informed that Aquarius carried out 2 rescues under the coordination of JRCC Libya within the Libyan SRR. JRCC Libya has ordered Aquarius to contact another MRCC to coordinate the disembarkation of all rescued people in a place of safety. Aquarius is requesting your assistance in finding a place of safety where all survivors can be disembarked as soon possible. Please find attached a copy of all communication between RCC Libya and M/V Aquarius plus the data regarding the survivors. Aquarius will alter course to the North tomorrow in order to approach an eventual port for disembarkation when it is designated by a competent maritime authority.

Please acknowledge receipt of this email.

Best Regards”

Legal references:

According to Chapter 3 of the SAR Convention (click here),

3.1.1 Parties shall co-ordinate their search and rescue organizations and should, whenever necessary, coordinate search and rescue operations with those of neighboring States.

3.1.6. Each party should authorize its RCC: 4. To make the necessary arrangements in cooperation with other RCC to identify the most appropriate place(s) for disembarking persons found in distress.

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21:45

Maltese RCC informs Aquarius that it will not coordinate a place a safety

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Maltese RCC replies to Aquarius’ email by stating that it is not the appropriate and competent authority to designate…

Maltese RCC replies to Aquarius’ email by stating that it is not the appropriate and competent authority to designate or make the necessary arrangements for a place of safety.

Legal references:

According to Chapter 3 of the SAR Convention (click here),

3.1.1 Parties shall co-ordinate their search and rescue organizations and should, whenever necessary, co-ordinate search and rescue operations with those of neighbouring States.

3.1.6. Each party should authorize its RCC: 4. To make the necessary arrangements in cooperation with other RCC to identify the most appropriate place(s) for disembarking persons found in distress.

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August 12, 2018
10:15

The 141 survivors on board receive food for the day

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Legal Reference [The shipmaster should] “do everything possible, within the capabilities and limitations of the ship, to treat the survivors humanely…

Legal Reference

[The shipmaster should] “do everything possible, within the capabilities and limitations of the ship, to treat the survivors humanely and to meet their immediate needs;” [Click here for legal reference]
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11:11

Libyan JRCC instructs Aquarius to proceed to the rescue of 10 people onboard a boat in distress

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

The Libyan JRCC informs Aquarius by email that “As coordination authority for SAR ev. 661, now I tell you…

The Libyan JRCC informs Aquarius by email that “As coordination authority for SAR ev. 661, now I tell you there is a small white fiber boat with 10 people on board in psn 3350N 01150E at 1115LT, course North, speed 5. Now you go to this position to rescue the people.”

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11:24

Aquarius confirms to Libyan JRCC it is proceeding to the distress position

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Aquarius replies to the email by saying that it is proceeding to the given position at maximum speed. Aquarius…

Aquarius replies to the email by saying that it is proceeding to the given position at maximum speed. Aquarius also confirms that it will update the Libyan JRCC about the operation, following the obligations of all shipmasters under maritime law. [Click here for the legal reference]

Email from Aquarius to Libyan JRCC

“Dear Sirs,

Good copy on your last email. Aquarius is proceeding to this position at maximum speed to conduct rescue and bring all people on board the Aquarius. I will update this RCC at operation starts.

Best Regards”

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13:49

Aquarius investigates the first position provided, nothing found

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

A RHIB of the Aquarius is launched to investigate the first position provided by the Libyan JRCC. The team…

A RHIB of the Aquarius is launched to investigate the first position provided by the Libyan JRCC. The team onboard the RHIB talks to fishermen on a fishing vessel who say that they have seen the white boat two hours ago, heading North.

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15:29

Libyan JRCC informs Aquarius it does not have additional information and instructs Aquarius to continue the search

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

The LNCG informs Aquarius that “at the moment We don’t have any more information about SAR case 661. Continue…

The LNCG informs Aquarius that “at the moment We don’t have any more information about SAR case 661. Continue the search, We are looking for White small fiber boat with 10 people on board. Last known position was near White and blue fishing vessel.”

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15:48

Aquarius informs Libyan JRCC it is continuing the search and that two fishermen vessels said they have seen the boat heading North

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Email from Aquarius to Libyan JRCC, with MTJRCCITMRCC and EUNAVFOR MED in copy: “Dear Sir,Good copy sir. Aquarius will continue…

Email from Aquarius to Libyan JRCC, with MTJRCC, ITMRCC and EUNAVFOR MED in copy:

“Dear Sir,
Good copy sir. Aquarius will continue to search. Our current pos. is 34-06.3N 012-04.2E searching to the north for the time being. If no joy we will start another search pattern. One of my RHIBs has investigated several fishing vessels in the area. On two occasions the fishermen said that they had seen the boat heading North.”

Legal reference

[the Master should] keep the RCC informed about conditions, assistance needed, and actions taken or planned for the survivors (see paragraph 6.10 regarding other information the RCC may wish to obtain); [click here for the legal reference]
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16:21

Aquarius informs Libyan JRCC that another fishing vessel has seen the boat heading North an hour ago

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Email from Aquarius to Libyan JRCC, with MTJRCC, ITMRCC and EUNAVFOR MED in copy: “Dear Sirs,My RHIB just investigated…

Email from Aquarius to Libyan JRCC, with MTJRCC, ITMRCC and EUNAVFOR MED in copy:

“Dear Sirs,
My RHIB just investigated another fishing vessel at 13h40UTC who said they had seen the boat in distress heading to the North 1 hour ago. My current pos. is 34-12.1N 012-07.6E.”

Legal reference

[the Master should] keep the RCC informed about conditions, assistance needed, and actions taken or planned for the survivors (see paragraph 6.10 regarding other information the RCC may wish to obtain); [click here for the legal reference]
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16:42

Maltese RCC calls Aquarius back, informs that Aquarius’ assistance is not required and that Maltese RCC will coordinate the case when it enters the Maltese SRR

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Maltese RCC informs Aquarius that it is conducting an aerial and maritime search and that Aquarius’ assistance is not…

Maltese RCC informs Aquarius that it is conducting an aerial and maritime search and that Aquarius’ assistance is not required. Maltese RCC recommends Aquarius to contact Libyan JRCC for instructions. It informs that Maltese RCC will coordinate the case once it entered the Maltese SRR and that “any intervention or attempt of intervention from your side will be considered as an interception, maritime law enforcement case”. Aquarius stresses that it has been ordered by Libyan JRCC to proceed North, that it will follow the instructions of Maltese RCC upon entering its SRR and keep it informed.

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17:07

Aquarius asks LNCG and Maltese RCC for clarification about the coordination of SAR case 661

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Aquarius sends an email to the LNCG and Maltese JRCC for clarification about the coordination of SAR case 661….

Aquarius sends an email to the LNCG and Maltese JRCC for clarification about the coordination of SAR case 661.

Email from Aquarius to LNCG and Maltese JRCC, copying Italian MRCC and EUNAVFOR Med

“Dear Sirs,

Please can you confirm who is the coordinating authority for SAR case 661? We are currently passing 34-20N. My
RHIB is in the water and investigating a target to our north following the instructions of JRCC Libya. As directed by
JRCC Libya we have contacted another MRCC to arrange a place of safety to disembark all 141 people currently on
board the Aquarius as we cannot disembark them in Libya.

Please acknowledge receipt of this email.

Best Regards”

Legal reference

“in a case where the RCC responsible for the area where the survivors are recovered cannot be contacted, [the Master should] attempt to contact another RCC, or if that is impractical, any other Government authority that may be able to assist, while recognizing that responsibility still rests with the RCC of the area in which the survivors are recovered;

[the Master should] keep the RCC informed about conditions, assistance needed, and actions taken or planned for the survivors (see paragraph 6.10 regarding other information the RCC may wish to obtain);” [Click here for the legal reference]

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17:08

Maltese RCC informs Aquarius that all actions undertaken inside the Maltese SRR are coordinated by Maltese RCC

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Maltese RCC informs Aquarius via email that “any instructions to intervene given by the Libyan coastguard are only valid…

Maltese RCC informs Aquarius via email that “any instructions to intervene given by the Libyan coastguard are only valid for the Libyan area of responsibility.”

Any intervention or action taken within MT SRR should be coordinated by and specifically approved by RCC Malta.”

MTJRCC informs Aquarius that the AFMis conducting a search inside its area and despatched its own units.” Requiring Aquarius “to keep a clear and safe distance off the boat in case of sighting, observe without interception, and report to this RCC on the situation”.

Legal reference

Parties having accepted responsibility to provide search and rescue services for a specified area shall use search and rescue units and other available facilities for providing assistance to a person who is, or appears to be, in distress at sea. [click here for legal reference]

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17:17

Aquarius confirms to Maltese RCC it will only engage in the rescue if risk of loss of life

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Aquarius confirms to Maltese RCC that it will only engage in the rescue if there is a risk of…

Aquarius confirms to Maltese RCC that it will only engage in the rescue if there is a risk of loss of life. Aquarius asks for an ETA for the arrival of Maltese Search and Rescue assets at the boat’s position.

Email from Aquarius to Maltese RCC, copying LNCG, ITMRCC and EUNAVFOR Med

“Dear Sir,
Your last message is well understood. Aquarius will engage in rescue activity only if there is a risk to loss of life. We
will contact this RCC with any info regarding this SAR event. Could you give me an ETA for arrival of SAR asset to this
location?
Best Regards”

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17:39

Aquarius requests authorisation from Maltese RCC to assess the situation of the people on the boat and give out life jackets if necessary

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Aquarius informs MTRCC over the phone that one of the RHIB is in the water and asks permission for…

Aquarius informs MTRCC over the phone that one of the RHIB is in the water and asks permission for assessing the situation and if necessary, give out life jackets and make a medical assessment of the people on board until Maltese assets arrive. Maltese RCC is busy and informs it will revert in a few minutes.

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17:49

Maltese RCC authorises Aquarius to assess the situation

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Maltese RCC calls back asking whether the Aquarius has got radar contact with the target and agrees that Aquarius…

Maltese RCC calls back asking whether the Aquarius has got radar contact with the target and agrees that Aquarius assesses the situation and stays on standby for Maltese assets. MTRCC asks the Aquarius to let the target pass, referring again to a law enforcement case. Aquarius says it will keep MTRCC updated about the situation and will only intervene if lives are at risk.

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18:06

Maltese RCC confirms the permission to assess the condition of the persons on board the boat and handover lifejackets

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

In an email, the Maltese RCC confirms the permission to assess the condition of the persons on board the…

In an email, the Maltese RCC confirms the permission to assess the condition of the persons on board the boat and handover lifejackets. It repeats that the case is monitored by an air asset and that a maritime asset is on its way to the position. Maltese RCC considers that there is no distress case at this stage and that the case is currently a Maritime Law Enforcement case.

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18:16

Aquarius reports to MTRCC that the RHIB is currenty doing the assessment and giving out lifejackets.

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Email from Aquarius to MTJRCC, with LNCG in copy “Dear Sir, Please be advised that our RHIB is currently…

Email from Aquarius to MTJRCC, with LNCG in copy

“Dear Sir,

Please be advised that our RHIB is currently doing the assessment and giving out lifejackets. The situation is 11 male
total 2 of which are children
We will find out their intentions and inform this RCC as soon as possible.

Best Regards”

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18:30

Aquarius informs MTRCC of situation of people onboard and that they would like to continue their way north

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Email from Aquarius to MTRCC, copying LNCG, ITMRCC and EUNAVFOR Med “Dear Sir ,The situation onboard is stable. The…

Email from Aquarius to MTRCC, copying LNCG, ITMRCC and EUNAVFOR Med

“Dear Sir ,
The situation onboard is stable. The people onboard have said that they have been at sea for two days. There are 2
children onboard are suffering from exposure. We are giving them some food and water. They have informed us that
they would like to continue on their way north. Aquarius will have the 2 rhibs in the water in case of difficulty and
continue to monitor the situation and inform this RCC. We will not interfere with their passage. If you wish for us to
indicate the best course please let me know. Until then we will standby for instructions from you .
Best Regards”

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19:11

Aquarius updates Maltese RCC about the fibreglass boat’s situation and informs it will handover the case to Maltese or Italian vessels as soon as they arrive

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Aquarius updates the MTJRCC by phone about the course of the target and its current position. Aquarius asks whether…

Aquarius updates the MTJRCC by phone about the course of the target and its current position. Aquarius asks whether there are any instructions from MTJRCC, and informs that Aquarius will hand over to Maltese coast guards or the Italian Coast Guards vessels once they arrive o scene.

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19:27

Aquarius receives a distress alert broadcasted to all ships in the area via INMARSAT

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

As it resumes sailing North, Aquarius receives from ITMRCC a telex distress alert broadcasted on INMARSAT to all ships…

As it resumes sailing North, Aquarius receives from ITMRCC a telex distress alert broadcasted on INMARSAT to all ships in the area. It alerts to a rubber boat in distress in unknown position with about 150 persons on board departed from Al Khoms (Libya), at 22:00 the day before. The distress alert requests all ships in the area to keep a sharp look out and to inform “the responsible rescue coordination centre according the search and rescue region”: JRCC Libya, Interim Libyan MRCC Operating 24h, Libyan Navy/Coast Guard, RCC Malta, MRCC Tunis, IMRCC Rome in case of sighting.

 

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19:44

Aquarius updates Maltese RCC about the fibreglass boat’s situation and informs it will handover the case to Maltese or Italian vessels as soon as they arrive

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Aquarius calls MTRCC to update about the boat’s position. Aquarius asks whether there are any instructions from MTRCC side…

Aquarius calls MTRCC to update about the boat’s position. Aquarius asks whether there are any instructions from MTRCC side so far and
that Aquarius will hand over the case to Maltese or Italian vessels as soon as they arrive on scene.

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20:14

Aquarius seeks instructions from Maltese RCC as it approaches the overlapping Italian and Maltese SRR

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Email from Aquarius to MTRCC, copying ITMRCC and EUNAVFOR Med “Dear Sir,On the present course and speed the vessel…

Email from Aquarius to MTRCC, copying ITMRCC and EUNAVFOR Med

“Dear Sir,
On the present course and speed the vessel that we are monitoring will arrive in Lampedusa and Italian territorial
waters at 22h30utc. Do you have any instruction for Aquarius in the event that we approach Italian waters?
Best Regards”

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20:25

Aquarius informs Italian MRCC of the case as it approaches the overlapping Italian and Maltese SRR

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Aquarius calls on the phone ITMRCC to inform it about the boat it is following under coordination of MTRCC,…

Aquarius calls on the phone ITMRCC to inform it about the boat it is following under coordination of MTRCC, as it approaches the overlapping Italian and Maltese SRR. ITMRCC denies any coordination responsibility for the case as long as it is not in the Italian SRR. Aquarius clarifies that it is not seeking seeking instructions from ITMRCC at the moment but only calling to inform about the situation.

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20:25

Italian MRCC informs Aquarius that it does not provide a place of safety

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Replying to Aquarius’ request of assistance in designating a place of safety where all survivors can be disembarked as…

Replying to Aquarius’ request of assistance in designating a place of safety where all survivors can be disembarked as soon as possible, the Italian MRCC informs Aquarius by email that it “did not provide an Italian place of safety because the SAR cases where not coordinated by the Italian MRCC“.

Legal references

  • Governments should co-operate with each other with regard to providing suitable places of safety for survivors after considering relevant factors and risks. [Click here for legal reference]
  • Parties shall co-ordinate and co-operate to ensure that masters of ships providing assistance by embarking persons in distress at sea are released from their obligations with minimum further deviation from the ships´ intended voyage, provided that releasing the master of the ship from these obligations does not further endanger the safety of life at sea. The Party responsible for the search and rescue region in which such assistance is rendered shall exercise primary responsibility for ensuring such co-ordination and co-operation occurs, so that survivors assisted are disembarked from the assisting ship and delivered to a place of safety, taking into account the particular circumstances of the case and guidelines developed by the Organization. In these cases, the relevant Parties shall arrange for such disembarkation to be effected as soon as reasonably practicable. [Click here for legal reference]
  • SOLAS : Contracting Governments shall co-ordinate and co-operate to ensure that masters of ships providing assistance by embarking persons in distress at sea are released from their obligations with minimum further deviation from the ships’ intended voyage, provided that releasing the master of the ship from the obligations under the current regulation does not further endanger the safety of life at sea. The Contracting Government responsible for the search and rescue region in which such assistance is rendered shall exercise primary responsibility for ensuring such co-ordination and co-operation occurs, so that survivors assisted are disembarked from the assisting ship and delivered to a place of safety, taking into account the particular circumstances of the case and guidelines developed by the Organization. In these cases the relevant Contracting Governments shall arrange for such disembarkation to be effected as soon as reasonably practicable. [Click here for legal reference]
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21:29

Aquarius asks Malta to ask Frontex about the possibility of transfering the 141 survivors to a place of safety

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Informed that thefibre glass boat is supposed to be rescued by Frontex, Aquarius informs the MTRCC that it would…

Informed that thefibre glass boat is supposed to be rescued by Frontex, Aquarius informs the MTRCC that it would like to request from Frontex to bring the 141 survivors currently onboard Aquarius to a place of safety.

Email from Aquarius to MTRCC

“Dear Sir,

As you are aware Aquarius currently has 141 survivors on board. I would like to request from Frontex if they would have the possibility to bring these people on board their vessel and to a place of safety ? They are mostly Eritrean and Somali and 67 of them are unaccompanied minors. Would it be possible for you to contact them for me or have them contact me?
Thank you

Best Regards”

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21:41

Maltese RCC replies to Aquarius’ email saying that it is not taking part in Fontex Operation Themis and that Aquarius should contact Frontex or Italy as the host country

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)
22:42

Aquarius asks Frontex whether the 141 survivors onboard could be transferred to one of their assets to be disembarked in a place of safety

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Email from Aquarius to Frontex operation Themis “Dear Sir, Please be advised that Aquarius is currently monitoring a white…

Email from Aquarius to Frontex operation Themis

“Dear Sir,
Please be advised that Aquarius is currently monitoring a white fibreglass vessel with 11 persons on board as per instructions by MRCC Malta. We have been told that Frontex will be taking over this event once they arrive in your area of operations. Aquarius currently has 141 survivors from 2 SAR events that were coordinated by JRCC Libya but have been asked to contact another coordinating authority . We would like to see with you if these persons could be transferred to one of your assets to be disembarked in a place of safety. The survivors are mostly from Eritrea and Somalia and 67 of them are unaccompanied minors. Please see attached a copy of the rescue data regarding all survivors below.
Our current position is 35-03.2N 012-24.1E COG 19 SOG 8kts. We be arriving in your AO in around 1 hour.
Please acknowledge
Best Regards”

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August 13, 2018
00:54

Aquarius informs Italian MRCC and Maltese RCC of recovery of fibreglass boat by Italian Coast Guard and that Aquarius will proceed North

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Email from Aquarius to Italian MRCC and Maltese RCC, with Frontex in copy “Dear Sirs, Please be informed that…

Email from Aquarius to Italian MRCC and Maltese RCC, with Frontex in copy

“Dear Sirs,

Please be informed that ITCG has recovered all people from the white fibreglass boat. Aquarius will recover our RHIB and then proceed North to a standby position in international waters in between [Linosa] and Malta until we can find a place of safety to disembark all rescued people. Aquarius will NOT entre territorial waters of either state without authorisation. Aquarius will keep both RCCs in copy of emails during our communications with competent maritime authorities.

Please be aware again that Aquarius has 141 survivors on board after conducting 2 rescue operations under the coordination of JRCC Libya. We have now been instructed by JRCC Libya to contact other RCCs for a place of safety. The condition on board is stable for now and the medical team is taking care of all survivors. Any assistance that can be offered will be much appreciated.

Best Regards”

 

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01:19

Maltese RCC requests information about standby position

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Following the email sent by Aquarius, Maltese RCC calls to ask clarification about the standby position between Malta and…

Following the email sent by Aquarius, Maltese RCC calls to ask clarification about the standby position between Malta and Italy. Aquarius explains that since the route will either be to the West or to the North or to the East, it is a logical place for standby for the time being until receiving a confirmation from another competent maritime authority that a place of safety to disembark all rescued people will be issued.

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09:23

Aquarius stops in the international waters, at 32 nautical miles from the European coasts, waiting for further guidance from the authorities

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Aquarius stops in the international waters, at the position 35°59.1’N, 013°31.6’E, at 32 Nautical miles from the Italian coast…

Aquarius stops in the international waters, at the position 35°59.1’N, 013°31.6’E, at 32 Nautical miles from the Italian coast (Linosa Island), and 32 Nautical miles from the Maltese coast, on the line separating the Maltese SRR and the overlapping Italian and Maltese SRR.

 

Legal reference

[the shipmaster should] seek to ensure that survivors are not disembarked to a place where their safety would be further jeopardized; [Click here for legal reference]

 

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16:38

Aquarius receives a second distress alert broadcasted to all ships in the area for the same boat as previous day

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Aquarius receives from ITMRCC a telex distress alert broadcasted on INMARSAT to all ships in the area for the…

Aquarius receives from ITMRCC a telex distress alert broadcasted on INMARSAT to all ships in the area for the same case as the previous day. It alerts to a rubber boat in distress in unknown position with about 150 persons on board, departed from Al Khoms (Libya), at 22:00 on August 11th. The distress alert requests all ships in the area to keep a sharp look out and to inform “the responsible rescue coordination centre according the search and rescue region”: JRCC Libya, Interim Libyan MRCC Operating 24h, Libyan Navy/Coast Guard, RCC Malta, MRCC Tunis, IMRCC Rome in case of sighting.

 

 

 

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20:26

Aquarius receives a third distress alert broadcasted to all ships in the area for the same boat as previous day

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Aquarius receives from ITMRCC a telex distress alert broadcasted on INMARSAT to all ships in the area for the…

Aquarius receives from ITMRCC a telex distress alert broadcasted on INMARSAT to all ships in the area for the same case as the previous day. It alerts to a rubber boat in distress in unknown position with about 150 persons on board, departed from Al Khoms (Libya), at 22:00 on August 11th. The distress alert requests all ships in the area to keep a sharp look out and to inform “the responsible rescue coordination centre according the search and rescue region”: JRCC Libya, Interim Libyan MRCC Operating 24h, Libyan Navy/Coast Guard, RCC Malta, MRCC Tunis, IMRCC Rome in case of sighting.

 

 

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21:38

Aquarius informs both Italian MRCC and Maltese RCC about the situation onboard regarding the 141 survivors

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Email from Aquarius to ITMRCC and MTRCC, copying LYJRCC: “Dear Sirs, Please be informed that Aquarius is still stopped…

Email from Aquarius to ITMRCC and MTRCC, copying LYJRCC:

“Dear Sirs,

Please be informed that Aquarius is still stopped at position 35-58.3N 013-31.9E. As we are in an area of overlapping SRRs we will continue to update both ITMRCC and RCC Malta about the situation on board regarding the 141 survivors rescued under the coordination of JRCC Libya. The situation on board is stable for now but the survivors need to be disembarked in a place of safety as soon as possible. JRCC Libya instructed Aquarius to contact other MRCCs to facilitate this. The medical team on board continues to treat the survivors and to monitor the situation.  The conditions on board is not likely to get better in the coming days. Any assistance regarding this situation is much appreciated.

Please acknowledge this email.

Best Regards”

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August 14, 2018
11:51

Aquarius seeks the assistance of other European RCCs in coordinating efforts to find a place of safety

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Email from Aquarius to French MRCC, Spanish MRCC and Greek JRCC, copying ITMRCC, MTRCC and EUNAVFOR Med “Dear Sirs,…

Email from Aquarius to French MRCC, Spanish MRCC and Greek JRCC, copying ITMRCC, MTRCC and EUNAVFOR Med

“Dear Sirs,

Please be informed that Aquarius conducted two SAR events coordinated by JRCC Libya and within the Libyan SRR. After completing the rescues JRCCLY informed Aquarius to contact other RCCs to facilitate the disembarkation of survivors in a place of safety. Aquarius currently has 141 survivors on board 75 percent of which are from Eritrea and Somalia. 67 of the survivors are unaccompanied minors. The situation on board is stable for the time being and our medical team(1 doctor 2 nurses and 2 midwifes) continue to treat the survivors. A solution needs to be found a soon as possible. Aquarius is currently at a standby position (35-58.7N 013-31.7E  ) in the overlapping SRRs of Italy and Malta who have both replied that they are denying assistance in finding a place of safety. Any assistance in coordinating efforts to find a place of safety is appreciated as the situation on board will not improve over the coming days and if anything will get worse for the survivors. Please find attached all rescue data and reports concerning these events.
Please acknowledge receipt of this email

Best Regards”

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August 15, 2018
08:58

Aquarius requests to Maltese authorities guarantees that the 141 survivors of the SAR cases will be considered as such

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Email from Aquarius to Malta Transport Centre, copying MTRCC, ITMRCC, LYJRCC “Good morning According to the definition of the…

Email from Aquarius to Malta Transport Centre, copying MTRCC, ITMRCC, LYJRCC

“Good morning

According to the definition of the SAR convention, the status of the 141 people onboard is “survivors of search and rescue cases”. The survivors have been rescued under the coordination of JRCC (Libyan Joint Rescue Coordination Centre) from two boats in distress. These rescue operations have been conducted under the SAR regulations and the duty of the Master to render assistance to any people in distress at sea.

25 people were rescued from a boat in distress (SAR case 656) in position N33-29, E 012-03. 116 people were rescued from another boat in distress (SAR case 657) in position N33-30, E 011-51. These two events were granted SAR case numbers 656 and 657 by the Libyan JRCC.

I would like to confirm that the following are vulnerable population requiring international protection as per stated by international law and as adopted by the EU directive 2013/33/EU.105/141 of rescued people are ‘’people of concern’’ and 73/141 are unaccompanied minors.

Please acknowledge receipt of this email and confirm that the 141 rescued people will be considered as such.

Please find attached the disembarkation report, referring to the medical condition of the people on board.

Best Regards”

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09:59

Aquarius seeks to clarify why the disembarkation is not coordinated by Maltese RCC

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Email from Aquarius to Malta Transport Centre, copying MTRCC, ITMRCC, LYJRCC “Sir,May I ask why this is not being…

Email from Aquarius to Malta Transport Centre, copying MTRCC, ITMRCC, LYJRCC

“Sir,
May I ask why this is not being coordinated by RCC Malta? The survivors were rescued at sea in two SAR events under the coordination of JRCC Libya and so RCC Malta should be issuing instructions to the Aquarius if Maltese authorities has taken over coordination? Please can we clarify this as soon as possible.
Best Regards”

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10:56

Malta Transport Centre replies that access to Malta is based only on a humanitarian basis and not due to SAR, hence not being coordinated by RCC Malta

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Malta Transport Centre replies that RCC Malta is not the competent authority to coordinate entry into port. It states…

Malta Transport Centre replies that RCC Malta is not the competent authority to coordinate entry into port. It states that “access to Malta is based only on a humanitarian basis and not due to SAR, and such entry is coordinated by the respective competent authorities and not RCC Malta”.

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11:05

Aquarius requests futher information concerning the disembarkation of the 141 survivors to Malta Transport Centre

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Email from Aquarius to Malta Transport Centre “Dear Sir, On behalf of Medecins Sans Frontieres, I kindly request you…

Email from Aquarius to Malta Transport Centre

“Dear Sir,

On behalf of Medecins Sans Frontieres, I kindly request you further information concerning the disembarkation of the 141 survivors that we have on board the Aquarius currently.

Can you please provide more information on several important questions:

  • Who will be present at the disembarkation and how will it be organized?
  • Will there be any humanitarian organization present on dock that you can connect us with to provide continuity of care? In other ports we have coordinated closely and successfully with similar organizations.
  • Where will the rescued people go immediately after the disembarkation while still in Malta?
  • Where will the people be sent and what will the process be for them, especially regarding their relocation to other EU countries?
  • How long do we expect this process will take?

The population that we have on board is particularly fragile and we have already identified some extremely vulnerable people that need specific attention. Most of them are travelling in groups and need to know what is going to happen with the relocation. The people we have on board are anxious and I firmly believe that it will facilitate the disembarkation if we can prepare them accordingly and are able to transparently inform them regarding the above questions.

A full medical report is ready to be sent to competent health authorities. Could you please forward me the contact details of the correct authority?

Kind regards,”

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12:31

Aquarius informs Maltese RCC and Malta Transport Centre of intentions to organize the disembarkation under SAR regulations

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Email from Aquarius to Maltese RCC and Malta Transport Centre, copying LYJRCC and ITMRCC “Dear sirs, Following your last…

Email from Aquarius to Maltese RCC and Malta Transport Centre, copying LYJRCC and ITMRCC

“Dear sirs,

Following your last email and according to your explanation, I understand that the people are not considered by the Maltese authorities as survivors of a SAR event and that the Maltese authorities are not willing to take in charge this SAR event.

I am currently requesting to the RCC Tripoli in charge to handover the SAR cases to the RCC Malta, in order to organize this disembarkation under the SAR regulations.”

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12:34

Aquarius requests LNCG to handover the coordination of the two SAR cases to the Maltese RCC

SAR Operations > Valletta (2018.08.09-15)

Email from Aquarius to Libyan Navy and Coast Guard, copying MTRCC and Malta Transport Centre “Dear Sirs, I am…

Email from Aquarius to Libyan Navy and Coast Guard, copying MTRCC and Malta Transport Centre

“Dear Sirs,

I am contacting you as coordinating authority of the SAR cases 656 and 657 that were rescued by M/V Aquarius on August 10th. As per your instruction, we contacted other RCCs to request assistance in finding a place of safety to disembark the 141 survivors.

The 141 survivors will be disembarked in the Port of Valletta, Malta. May I kindly request you to handover the coordination of these two SAR cases to the Maltese RCC?

We want to ensure that the disembarkation of the rescued people is acknowledged under SAR regulations by Maltese authority.

Best Regards”

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