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Humanity 1 finally assigned a port, but rescuers warn the 42-hour journey to get there will push the survivors and crew to the limit

Meanwhile, the Open Arms Uno now carries over 400 survivors and the corpse of a 20-year-old Eritrean man

THE Humanity 1 rescue ship has finally been assigned a port of safety after spending close to two weeks at sea.

“Last night, the 398 rescued on the Humanity 1 were assigned Taranto, Italy as a safe port,” the ship’s operators SOS Humanity posted on social media this morning.

“The joyful relief was followed by disappointment: It’s 42-hours-journey between Taranto and the ship’s location at the time of the confirmation.

“The Humanity 1 left immediately, but the rescued and the crew have to stay at sea for at least two more days.

“The situation is precarious, water and food supplies have been severely rationed, and the weather is expected to get worse again.

“Immediate assignment to a safe place after a rescue is mandatory! Fourteen days have already passed since the first rescue, seven days since the last. An almost unbearable uncertainty and strain, especially for the many children and unaccompanied youths on board.”

Meanwhile, the Open Arms Uno now carries 402 survivors after carrying out two more rescues since Sunday.

Wegihu’s body is brought onboard the Open Arms Uno [Pic: Open Arms]

This morning they found a wooden boat carrying 59 people, and a corpse.

“His name was Wegihu, he was 20-years-old, and he was Eritrean,” Open Arms said.

“His corpse covered by a blanket sailed for [over] 24 hours in the boat with 59 people until his rescue, after running into some oil rigs.

“Some of the survivors have told us how at the moment they were boarding the boat in Libya, a smuggler hit him so hard that he lost his life. The people were forced to carry his body with them.

“And because everyone deserves a dignified death, the Open Arms Uno rescued Wegihu’s body, and we will take him to dry land with 402 other lives so that his family have a place to mourn his loss.

“For humanity. In the sea there are no numbers, there are lives.”

UPDATE: September 22

The Humanity 1 began disembarking the 398 survivors in Taranto today.

“The precarious situation on the Humanity 1, which lasted for days, could have been avoided if the authorities had immediately assigned a place of safety for the survivors after the rescues, as required by maritime law,” said Mirka Schäfer, the human rights observer for SOS Humanity on board the rescue ship.

“Moreover, once again, the authorities in question have failed to provide comprehensive information and swift coordination during the rescues, as is their duty.”

Elsewhere, the Open Arms Uno was also assigned a safe port to disembark the 402 people rescued in the Mediterranean this past week in Messina, Sicily.


Top image shows the view from the Humanity 1 [Pic: Arez Ghaderi / SOS Humanity]

Published by Ben Cowles

Is a journalist and podcaster

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