Refugees Rescue: BBC Ship Saves 117 Lives South of Sicily
The BBC FUJI was on her passage from Libya to Gibraltar in the night of September 24 to 25, when the vessel received a message from the MRCC Roma (Maritime Rescue Coordination Center) to set course for an unidentified boat in distress south of Sicily.
The BBC FUJI followed the MRCC order and proceeded to the given position. At 6:10am in the morning of Sept. 25 the vessel found a rubber boat crowded with refugees and prepared for their rescue. The rubber boat positioned alongside the vessel and overall 117 people, thereof 95 men, 16 women, and 6 children were safely transferred onto the BBC FUJI via the pilot ladder.
The refugees stated they were from Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Sudan and reported there was a second boat with refugees, but the whereabouts of this boat were unknown at that time. The vessel master observed that some refugees were in weak health condition, requiring medical assistance soonest. Onboard the BBC FUJI, the crew cared for the exhausted refugees and supplied food and water.
The BBC FUJI was ordered to deliver the refugees to the Port of Augusta, Sicily. By 10:00pm in the late evening the vessel berthed in Augusta and the refugees disembarked. Here, immediate medical assistance was provided by the Italian Red Cross and the Coast Guard. Guided by the Italian police the refugees proceeded to the Port Authorities marking an end of the rescue mission for the BBC FUJI. By midnight the vessel left the Port of Augusta again and continued her voyage to Gibraltar.
It was only ten days earlier on Sept. 14, when the BBC ICELAND was asked by the MRCC Roma to assist in another mission rescuing 134 Syrians south of Sicily.