Open Arms Mission 101 ends with 299 people rescued
Open Arms prepares for a new mission in the Central Mediterranean
After 6 intense and complex rescue operations in the international waters of the central Mediterranean, the 101st mission of the Open Arms came to an end on July 9th.
Our tugboat, which left the port of Naples on July 1st, reached the international waters of the central Mediterranean in just a few days. There, on the morning of July 6, it carried out the rescue of a wooden boat found adrift in the SAR (Search and Rescue) zone of Malta. On board were 110 people, including 10 women and 32 children, who had left Libya three days earlier.
While completing the rescue, we discovered another small wooden boat with 14 people on board, including a woman with serious health problems, who had left Tunisia 5 days earlier. After notifying the appropriate authorities, all the people were taken to safety aboard the Open Arms.
After a few hours, we received further instructions from the Italian authorities, asking us to go and check the condition of other vessels that were a short distance from our ship. When we arrived at the indicated location, we were confronted with a complicated scenario of 6 precarious, heavily overloaded vessels in difficulty. At the request of the Italian authorities, we assisted them until the Coast Guard arrived. We then rescued 4 of these boats and took on board 185 other people who had set off from Sfax, Tunisia.
After the 6 rescues carried out on the same day, 299 people were safely on board the Open Arms, including 26 women (some in advanced stages of pregnancy) and 89 minors (including a 5-year-old girl), most of them unaccompanied. The main countries of origin of those rescued are Sudan, Eritrea, Egypt, Ethiopia, Syria, Tunisia, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Mali and Egypt.
Despite our organization's efforts to cooperate with the Italian authorities, the extreme right-wing government of Giorgia Meloni decided to assign us another port of disembarkation (in this case Brindisi), much further away than any other in Sicily or Calabria, regions close to the areas of operation, in a clear attempt to continue the strategy of harassment of NGOs working at sea and disregard for the suffering of the rescued.
Finally, after 3 days of navigation, the 299 people rescued by Open Arms were able to disembark safely in Brindisi.
TUNISIA ON THE WAY TO BECOMING A NEW LIBYA
According to the testimonies of people rescued in recent missions, Tunisia is on its way to becoming a hell on earth, just like Libya, with forced expulsions, abuses, abandonment of men, women and children in the desert without food and water, xenophobia and violence by the North African authorities against black migrants.
But the EU institutions continue to fund their regime, as well as that of Libya, to do the "dirty work". This situation will make many more people decide to risk their lives by crossing the Mediterranean, as it is impossible to do so in a legal and safe way. And this year, more than 1,895 innocent lives have been lost in the largest mass grave on the planet.
After the crew change and refueling, the Open Arms will once again set course for the Central Mediterranean on Mission 102, because saving lives and defending the dignity of people in vulnerable situations has been Open Arms' mission for almost 8 years.
But none of this would have been possible without the help and open arms of civil society, the people who help us on the ground, who spread the word about our work, and who support our work. Now, more than ever, we need people like you to continue to denounce what is happening in the Mediterranean and to continue to save the people that governments and the EU are abandoning at sea.