Four years ago, Zachary* left his home country in Sub-Saharan Africa, to find a better place to live and work in the region and eventually arrived in Ghana. There he spent two years working in a glass factory. He was doing quite well and enjoyed a good life with his wife, Laila.* One day, Zachary received a call from a friend. He was told about a good job opportunity. In Libya. At first Zachary was concerned about going to Libya, as he had heard worrying news about the country. However, he was reassured that life there was great and he had the chance to take this opportunity and change his life for the better. Zachary trusted his friend and decided to leave.
Upon arrival in Libya he quickly came to realize that it was hell. He was imprisoned and was only able to regain his freedom after paying 1,000 Euro, which he had been able to save from his years, spent working in Ghana. Unfortunately, he did not have enough money to also pay for his wife, who was pregnant at the time. The price for her freedom was set at 2,000 Euro. Zachary decided to take the risk to cross the Mediterranean Sea and reach Europe in the hope of finding an opportunity to work and earn enough money to pay for his wife’s freedom. What he did manage was to collect enough money, together with around 100 companions, to buy a rubber boat from some smugglers.
That evening when they reached the beach, the smugglers collected the money from the passengers and marked their boat the moment everyone had paid. Fortunately, he says, everybody paid, so there was no risk of being shot by smugglers, as he knew had happened in the past, when somebody did not have enough money and nevertheless tried to leave on one of the boats. He told us that he was relieved when the smugglers told him that there was one fisherman from his country who would be the captain. He felt reassured, as he knew that his national fishermen are also qualified seafarers. It is still night when Zachary tells his story. A small chat during the watch turns the Aquarius’ team takes all the night long to ensure that everyone on board is well.