While patroling the area, the Aquarius was informed, by the NGO Alarm Phone, at 1:00 am that a vessel with many migrants was sinking. Once the crew received the information, they started to go to the place and start the SAR operation.

However, at 3:00 am the crew noticed that a vessel from the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG) was approaching the boat in distress. While the LCG was aproaching, they contacted the Aquarius via radio and ask them for information about the boat in distress.

At 5:00 pm the Aquarius saw the boat in distress automatically  sent two rubbet boats. Following this, they contacted the LCG and informed them that they were going to review the status of the migrants. Despite the fact that the LCG asked them to stay away, they Aquaris was still heading to the location of the migrants

Once they realized the boat in distress was overloaded with children, and ignoring the orders of the LCG, he crew of the Aquarius started distributing safe vests and moving the victims to their ship.

While doing this, at 6:00 am the LCG ordered the crew to abandoned the area and informed them that they were approaching the Aquarius. In response, the crew told them that they wer transfering women and kids. After this, both crews started arguing and the LCG started threatening the crew telling them that they were going to have big troubles if they continued to evacuate women and children.

After the discussion, the LCG let the Aquarius continue with the rescue and went back to Libya.




SAR case number: N.A

SAR organisation: SOS Mediterranee

SAR asset: Aquarius

Incident types: Fast approach; Order to stay away by non-EU authority; Intimidation (Other); Post-SAR action against SAR NGO(s) (Other)

Date of SAR (UTC): 23/09/2018

Time of first information received (UTC): 23/09/2018 1:00 am

Source of first information for the NGO: Alarm Phone

Starting time of first sighting / engagement with target boat in distress (UTC): 23/09/2018 5:00 am


Number of migrant boats: 1

Type of migrant boat(s): wooden boat

Number of people on board per boat: 58

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

Actors involved (by asset / institution type): Libyan Coast Guard/Navy


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: N.A

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

Location description: High seas

Approximate distance from coast line: N.A

Country of disembarkation: Malta


Total number of survivors: 58

Number of identified (accompanied) children: 18

Number of identified unaccompanied minors: 0

Number of identified pregnant women: 0

Number of identified medical evacuation cases: 0


Total number of confirmed deaths: 0

Estimated number of dead / missing persons: 0