The vessel Aquarius carried out more than 5 rescue operations and rescued a total of 629 people from high seas. Due to the quantity of the rescues the capacity of the Aquarius was exceeded and therefore it was necessary to reach a safe port as soon as possible.


Considering the rescue was carried out near Italian territorial waters and that MRCC Italy coordinated the operation, the Aquarius was on its way to Italy to disembark the migrants. However, when the vessel was at 35 nautical miles. However, not only Italy denied access to its ports, but also the Maltese government denied access to the port of Valletta.


After being in the high seas for over 48 hours, on Monday, the Spanish Prime Minister announced that Spain could facilitate disembarkation of all 629 migrants to the port of Valencia. Nevertheless, the trip was too dangerous for the crew and the migrants due to the lack of food and water and the lack of space in the vessel. However, the Italian government offered its ships to facilitate the safe passage to Spain.

SAR case number: N.A

SAR organisation: SOS Mediterranee

SAR asset: Aquarius

Incident types: EU MRCC denying disembarkation; Post-SAR action against SAR NGO(s) (Other)

Date of SAR (UTC): 09/06/2018

Source of first information for the NGO: MRCC Rome


Type of migrant boat(s): Rubbet Boats

Number of people on board per boat: Overwall there was 629 migrants

Other vessels in the vicinity (e.g. unidentified / cargo / aircrafts): N.A


Region of Mediterranean: Central Mediterranean

Position(s) of vessel(s) in distress at the time of SAR request:

Location description: High seas

Approximate distance from coast line: Approximately 25-35 Nautical Miles from the coast of Libya

Position(s) of rescue(s) at the time of SAR operation(s):

Location description: High seas

Approximate distance from coast line: Approximately 25-35 Nautical milse from the coast of Liya

Country of disembarkation: Spain


Total number of survivors: 629

Number of identified (accompanied) children: 11

Number of identified unaccompanied minors: 123

Number of identified pregnant women: 7


Total number of confirmed deaths: 0

Estimated number of dead / missing persons: 0