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Copyright - Joe Rabe Sea-Eye

Ukrainian Captain saves 32 people from death in the Mediterranean Sea

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On Monday 28th of March, the crew of the merchant ship KARINA, under the command of the Ukrainian captain Vasyl Maksymenko, saved 32 fleeing people from drowning in international waters off Libya. The merchant ship of the North German KLINGENBERG Bereederungs & Befrachtungs GmbH & Co. KG from Ellerbek was on its way from Malta to Benghazi when it was made aware of the distress at sea by the aid organization Alarm Phone.

“The boat was about to capsize. People wouldn’t have survived that. The waves reached four meters in the meantime. They could not have gotten anywhere under their own power”, says Vasyl Maksymenko, captain of the KARINA.

At that time, the SEA-EYE 4 was around 50 hours away from the emergency and was unable to provide any immediate assistance. However, the rescue ship and the operational management of the sea rescuers, together with numerous state and other non-state actors, were involved in the correspondence on the distress at sea.

Due to the dramatic exchange of letters, the SEA-EYE 4 contacted the merchant ship KARINA and offered support. At the same time, the operations commander of SEA-EYE 4 contacted the owner of the KARINA to signal their willingness to help.

Shipowner Thies Klingenberg was immediately aware of the difficult situation.

“It’s not the first time we’ve rescued people from the Mediterranean Sea. However, our ships are not suitable for the boarding and medical treatment of shipwrecked people” says Klingenberg.

The KARINA and the SEA-EYE 4 agreed on a rendezvous and met on Tuesday afternoon, around 55 nautical miles from the Libyan coast. A team of doctors and the operations manager of SEA-EYE 4 boarded the KARINA to assess the situation. According to their own statements, the fleeing people stayed on their wooden boat for at least three days.

 Therefore, some of the rescued people are currently being treated for hypothermia and dehydration in the onboard hospital. The captains of both ships assessed the situation in such a way that the SEA-EYE 4 is the more suitable and safer ship for the 32 survivors. The Sea-Eye operations management then agreed to take over the rescued people.

“We have enough provisions, accommodation and an on-board hospital to safely take such a number of people on board for a short period of time,” says Gorden Isler, Chairman of Sea-Eye e. V.

The SEA-EYE 4 has a so-called rescue notation from its classification society, and the Italian coast guard confirmed the SEA-EYE 4’s suitability for short-term care for up to 200 people after technical adjustments in the summer of 2021, if it is then a safe port for disembarkation survivor is controlled.