Rome, 6th May 2018 (NEV/CS23) – Today the Astral, a sailing boat operated by the Spanish NGO Proactiva, on its 45th search and rescue mission saved 105 people: men, women and children who found themselves adrift in a deflated dinghy in the Mediterranean Sea. At 5.00am this morning the operations centre of the Italian coastguard (IMRCC) broadcast a request for help to all boats present in the area. The Astral, which was ten miles away, reached and rescued those whose lives were in danger, bringing them safely aboard.
Contamos con pocos medios, pero tendrán todos los cuidados. Hoy este equipo de voluntarios #Astral acoge a 105 náufragos que se han jugado la vida huyendo del más puro infierno.
Están a salvo, sus vidas siguen adelante y es lo que más importa.#life #westayinmed pic.twitter.com/9WnNmuPO7d
— Open Arms (@openarms_fund) May 6, 2018
Those rescued were of different nationalities including Bangladeshis, Egyptians, Eritreans, Ghanaians, Libyans, Moroccans, Nigerians, Pakistanis and Sudanese. Proactiva’s 43rd mission, which was also supported by the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy (FCEI), saw 204 lives saved by the NGO’s Open Arms tugboat.
The FCEI, through its Refugee and Migrant Programme Mediterranean Hope (MH), is participating in this mission with one of its own operatives working aboard as the ship’s cook. “Rescues in the Mediterranean are continuing,” – declared FCEI president, pastor Luca Maria Negro – “As we thank those who undertake sea rescue today, let us once again affirm that saving lives and standing in solidarity with those who flee war and misery cannot be a crime.”
Also aboard the Astral with captain Riccardo Gatti and crew is Italian Radicals MP Riccardo Magi, who says in a tweet: “After some tense
moments with the Libyan coastguard, we brought 105 people safely aboard the Astral operated by @openarms_fund. We do not know what would have happened to their deflated dinghy had we not been in the vicinity: saving endangered human lives is a fundamental necessity.”
The FCEI, together with the Italian Radicals, is one of the Italian promoters of the “Welcoming Europe” European Citizens Initiative (ECI), which, amongst other things, seeks the abolition at a European level of the so-called crime of sea rescue. You can sign the petition by going to the campaign website. For more information, click here.