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The Importance of Quick Response: Migrant Vessel Rescue Assist on SY Path

Updated: Jan 4

Hello Everyone,

We are currently delivering Sy Path from Palma to Lanzarote, we left Palma last night and the following account began around 10;30 this morning, this is not the official record of events this is my account separate from our official ships logbook.


Tuesday 12th December- 10:30;

This morning at approximately 10:30 I woke up to the noise of the engine throttling back, I instantly thought "We aren't fishing" Something is wrong.

Similatiously my cabin door raps, I'm already out of bed and pulling on some clothes. One of the crew members says, we've spotted a migrant boat on the horizon everyone on deck.

"Oh Jesus here we go" My inner monologue is already going 100 miles to the minute.

The Crew Call alarm rings in my head as I'm starting to think about what we need and how we proceed.

I get on deck, I speak briefly with the captain and my first visual of the Migrant vessel is shocking. I've not experienced this scenario in my time at sea until now.

" Mel, grab the satellite phone, get both liferafts on the port side out and standing by on deck in case we need them" Captain Dani instructs with a calm and clear voice. " COPY," I say already pulling on my Jacket and boots.

ok, Let's go, myself and another crew member go about this duties. I'm looking around as I go, I can hear our 2nd Engineer speaking in Spanish on the radio to MRCC Cartenga, to report the vessel, Risk of life, Number of persons onboard and our position. They requested we standby and monitor from a safe distance as they organised a rescue vessel.

I'm back in the cockpit and jump into the position of look out, gazing through the binoculars my heart sinks in my chest and I can't believe I'm looking at a small RIB (Rigid inflatable Boat) with an outboard engine and approximately 14 Persons onboard that I could see. On first look, there wasn't a clear sign of distress from the persons onboard, although it was clear to see it was unlikely they had lifeJackets. Within a few moments, we saw waving arms, and flags and the persons onboard clearly trying to get our attention. All the time we are in communication with the Coast Guard to get immediate assistance to these persons as quickly as possible.

We sat approximately 1-2 nautical miles away from the migrant vessel so we could monitor the situation with three lookouts constantly updating our captain and the coast guard on their position if they were moving or drifting, the vessel did have a working outboard engine which from our perspective kept cutting out.


11:24

MRCC Cartenga informed us a rescue boat was proceeding to our position from Alicante approximately 50NM away which would be with us in approximately an hour and a half. As crew our mood changed a little, help was on the way there was a good future for these people coming.

Our main concern at this time was getting too close to the vessel that the people would panic and get into the water to try and board SY Path, which we had made preparations for but it was the last resort to bring them onboard Path.

The more I looked through the binoculars the more I thought about where these people had come from and the hardship they must have been through to get into a small vessel to cross the Meditteran Sea to search for a better life. The words that Kept circling my mind.

Desperation Terror Poverty Trauma


12:08

MRCC Cartenga called to inform us they had come across another migrant vessel a few miles off the coast of Alicante on the way to us, that they were assisting before coming to our case. They returned to the port of Alicante, with the first migrant group and then at approximately 13:30 they departed to come to us.


We as a crew continued to monitor the situation watching the vessel to ensure that no persons had entered the water, it was motoring slowly North West towards the coast of Spain and we slowly followed behind whilst watching. There was no immediate risk to live onboard the migrant vessel it was still moving and not taking on water as far as we could tell.

I had this overwhelming feeling of helplessness as all we could do was watch and wait for the Rescue boat to arrive. We discussed as a crew previously in our Monthly Safety drills what we would do in this scenario, but nothing can prepare you for seeing humans just like you reading this, in a position where life dealt them a bad hand.


14:10

We saw on AIS and Radar that the Rescue Vessel Salvamar is within 8NM of our position, which we had been monitoring there position since they first left Alicante, we spot them on the horizon and our in constant communication on the position of the migrant vessel and condition's onboard it.


14:25

The next few moments went extremely fast, the Salvamar came alongside the migrant vessel, upwind of them to Create a lee to make embarking the casualties easier. Within moments all of the migrants were aboard the vessel safely. We had com's with the vessel they thanked us for our assistance, the sigh of relief of every crew member onboard Sy Path was incredibly moving.


I felt a tear rolling down my face as I looked around at my crew with a sheer feeling of joy, relief and pride. Without maintaining a proper look-out and having a fast response to this situation the fate of these individuals could have been very different. Before we spotted the vessel at 10:30, we had been navigating in fog the four hours previous, the fog had cleared around 10:00 and I believe if the fog hadn't cleared today's outcome may have been very different.


As a crew, we are very thankful to the MRCC Cartagena and the Rescue response team for their rapidness and professional response. We hope that the future for these individuals can be better than what made them get in a 5m Rib to cross the Mediterranean Sea.


The world we live in today is a scary place, I find it hard to put into words exactly how I feel about migrant crossings/immigration and what surrounding countries can or are willing to do to help. When you remove the bureaucracy, we as humans have a natural want to help one another.

Rescue Boat Salvamar departed with all casualties Safely onboard.


Today more than any other day I'm incredibly proud to sail with every single crew member of SY path.

As always keep smiling, laughing and loving the sea xo


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3 comentários


Wow! That was a different day for you. So sad people have to go to such extremes to try and get a better life.

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Melissa  Ramm
Melissa Ramm
12 de dez. de 2023

I couldn’t agree more Dani! 🧡

Curtir

Ciao Mel; I believe there was a moment when the people on the rib accepted our presence as a support vessel and they stopped trying to get close to us. That was special for me. Somehow for an hour or more we shared the same route, us parallel to them, We kept a constant eye on them and we were making sure nothing was happening to the rib or to the people inside. I was constantly asking to myself 'how could possibly feel the weakest person on board?' Could have been a little kid, or a pregnant woman or an ill person. I believe all of us found a bit cruel not letting them boarding our nice boat, where a…

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