Emergency call from the Rescue Coordination Center Rome
The night was shaking us into sweet dreams, this morning appears beautiful. The Sea is calm, no waves and only light wind. The sun is rising behind some black clouds but direction South the sky is blue.
We passed Malta last night and are now only 90 miles away from the Libyan coast, the rescue zone we aim to observe and give assistance to boats and people in danger and distress. At 10 o´clock this morning the whole teams of SOSMEDITERRANE and MSF met on the aft-deck to train in our rescue boats. But then the Aquarius received a call.
“A few minutes ago the captain spoke with the Mediterranean Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Rome,” says Yohann the SAR coordinator. “They have received an SOS call from a rubber boat with approximately 150 people on board. The rubber boat is in the Eastern rescue zone. We will not do the drill now but will head full speed in that direction” Yohann continues his briefing.
The Aquarius is the only rescue vessel and the closest to the rubber boat at the moment but the distance to the rubber boat is huge. We started the third engine of the Aquarius and with full speed it will take us around 8 to 9 hours to reach the rubber boat. We all hope, that we will reach the people in danger in time.
MRCC got the call from the rubber boat this morning. It happens very often that there is one satellite phone on these boats. MRCC was able to locate the location of the rubber boat by using the satellite coordinates of the call.
On board the Aquarius we are preparing for the rescue. The medical team of MSF has introduced the procedures and especially the medical equipment they use during a mass casualty situation to the assistants from SOS. Again we have trained the case of an unconscious person and the steps to do to keep it alive.
Currently we are full speed direction South and hope to arrive early this evening to save those on the rubber boat.
Text: René Schulthoff
Photo: Kevin McElvaney