On March 15 we were forced to postpone the third mission of the Aita Mari. The context in Italy due to the coronvirus was (and is) uncertain. Therefore, we were not certain that, in the event of a rescue, the transalpine country would allow a rescue. In addition, a storm was thrown over it that would have made the navigation very complicated.
In this way, the ship remained in Syracuse (Sicily). After evaluating the development of the pandemic, we decided to transfer it to Pasaia for maintenance.
On Sunday, April 12, we set sail and headed home. During navigation, we were alerted that a paddleboat had been adrift for three days in southern Malta. Two more were in the area and the authorities had not deployed a search and rescue mission.
Given the passivity shown, we decided to go there. After several hours of sailing, we found 44 people on the edge of a boat: there were cases of dehydration, a pregnant woman with her seven-year-old sister, and several minors.
Malta neglected to host these people and, since Monday, some of the castaways have been evacuated to Lampedusa. At the time of writing this newsletter, Aita Mari is opposite Palermo awaiting instructions.
Days later it was learned that the missing boats had been returned to Libya: Malta endured days and days until the coast guards of that country appeared. For that decision, 12 people died (drowned and dehydrated).
Miraculously, a fourth boat that no one knew about arrived on their own in Sicily with 101 people on board. It was rubber, the most fragile material to go to sea.
The humanitarian ship Alan Kurdi also carried out two rescues on April 6: with 145 people. After spending 10 days in quarantine on that ship, they were finally transferred to a ferry in the port of Palermo.
In addition, in March we were alerted to two shipwrecks (March 5 and 11), two rescues and another hot return.
In the case of aid, on March 11 the Maltese coast guards helped a boat with 110 people after 48 hours of the first alarm message.
We will continue to report in a timely manner on the news regarding the next departure of the Aita Mari.