onboard the aquarius
The Aquarius is a ship chartered by SOS Méditerranée (a European maritime and humanitarian organization) and Médecins Sans Frontières in order to save lives in distress at sea in the Central Mediterranean Sea, the deadliest migratory route in the world.
The boats in distress can carry many hundreds of people that have been traveling for months from various countries in Africa and the Middle East. Fleeing horrific conditions in Libya they end up piled onto these overcrowded boats, risking their lives at sea. The critical condition of these boats means that the rescue must be coordinated and effectuated quickly before people fall in the water and drown.
I had heard many stories about these journeys but never had I imagined witnessing such horror.
The rescuers, the medical team and the marine crew are examples of humanity in the face of the cruelty and violence that Europe chooses to ignore. The Aquarius in its 31 months of mission saved 29,523 lives.
Since the summer of 2018, after pressure from various European governments the Aquarius has been forced to suspend its life saving mission.