Last weekend, the fast boat ‘Mal­du­sa’ was able to assist around one hundred peo­p­le on their arri­val in Lam­pe­du­sa during its first mis­si­ons in the cen­tral Medi­ter­ra­ne­an. The boat will be used to sup­port peo­p­le see­king pro­tec­tion, pro­vi­de initi­al mate­ri­al aid and docu­ment human rights vio­la­ti­ons. It is ope­ra­ted by the civil socie­ty wel­co­me net­work of the same name with loca­ti­ons in Lam­pe­du­sa and Paler­mo. The pro­ject is sup­port­ed by United4Rescue, PRO ASYL and med­ico international.

On Satur­day, 4 May 2024, the crew of the ‘Mal­du­sa’ found a boat with 20 peo­p­le, who had fled Tuni­sia the night befo­re, with the help of the ‘Coli­bri’ recon­nais­sance air­craft from Pilo­tes Volon­tai­res around 50 nau­ti­cal miles south of the Ita­li­an island of Lam­pe­du­sa. ‘We initi­al­ly equip­ped them with life jackets on their boat and accom­pa­nied them on their jour­ney,’ reports Jas­mi­ne Lozel­li from the Mal­du­sa crew. ‘At night­fall, we took the peo­p­le direct­ly onto the ‘Mal­du­sa’ for safe­ty reasons. They later moved to an Ita­li­an coast­guard boat and final­ly arri­ved safe­ly in Lampedusa’.

On Sun­day, 5 May, ‘Mal­du­sa’ – again with the help of the ‘Coli­bri’ – assis­ted two more boats, each with around for­ty peo­p­le who had mana­ged to lea­ve Tuni­sia. They were drif­ting around 30 nau­ti­cal miles west of Lam­pe­du­sa. To ensu­re safe­ty, the crew again han­ded out life jackets, dis­tri­bu­ted drin­king water and escor­ted the boats until the Ita­li­an coast­guard arrived.

‘As the expe­ri­ence of the last few days has alre­a­dy shown, it is useful and neces­sa­ry to deploy ano­ther civi­li­an fast boat,’ Jas­mi­ne Lozel­li con­ti­nues. After weeks of very bad wea­ther and no arri­vals, hundreds of peo­p­le once again rea­ched the Ita­li­an island of Lam­pe­du­sa last weekend after a dan­ge­rous crossing.

As long as safe escape rou­tes remain clo­sed to tho­se see­king pro­tec­tion, civi­li­an boats and ships are indis­pensable in sup­port­ing and res­cuing ‘peo­p­le on the move’. Fail­ure to pro­vi­de assis­tance, unlawful push and pull-backs to Libya and Tuni­sia or the intern­ment of new­ly arri­ving peo­p­le in clo­sed camps on Lam­pe­du­sa and in in the main­land in Ita­ly: as long as human rights vio­la­ti­ons in the cen­tral Medi­ter­ra­ne­an are part of ever­y­day life, direct soli­da­ri­ty com­bi­ned with con­sis­tent docu­men­ta­ti­on and denoun­ce of the situa­ti­on at the side of refu­gees and peo­p­le on the move remains neces­sa­ry. This is pre­cis­e­ly whe­re the Mal­du­sa pro­ject comes in.

About Mal­du­sa

Mal­du­sa is a wel­co­ming net­work that is acti­ve at sea and on land. It main­ta­ins a social cent­re in the Sici­li­an city of Paler­mo and a moni­to­ring sta­ti­on on Lam­pe­du­sa. The new fast boat is sta­tio­ned on Lam­pe­du­sa for sup­port ope­ra­ti­ons. The Mal­du­sa pro­ject is sup­port­ed by United4Rescue, PRO ASYL and med­ico international.

Pho­tos: https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjBpkG7

Press cont­acts:

Mal­du­sa: Hagen Kopp, hagen@kein.org, +49 (0)172–4008990

med­ico inter­na­tio­nal: Kerem Scham­ber­ger, schamberger@medico.de, +49 (0)160–3355989

United4Rescue: Susan­ne Jaco­by, presse@united4rescue.org, +49 (0)151–50126724

PRO ASYL: presse@proasyl.de, +49 (0)69–24231430


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