An MSF ship sets sail to rescue asylum seekers from Libya, who risked their lives to cross one of the most dangerous migration routes in the world.
“This sea has become a graveyard, so every second, every minute matters,” said Fulvia Conte, team leader aboard the Geo Barents, a search-and-rescue ship operated by Doctors Without Borders (Medecins) Sans Frontieres, or MSF) runs. ) set out to search for asylum seekers at sea with the desire to reach Europe.
Crossing the Mediterranean remains the deadliest known migration route worldwide. Every day, six people die trying to reach Europe on unseaworthy ships. “Imagine you put all your life in one bag, you put yourself and your family on a boat in the hope of not losing your life at sea,” Conte said, describing the dire situation in which the migrant residents must face before making the dangerous sea crossing. “Many say they would rather die at sea than go back to Libya.”
For many years, Libya was a transit country for refugees and economic migrants fleeing poverty, persecution and conflict in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. Many people come to Libya in the hope of a better life in Europe’s reserve. But the country’s lawlessness means corruption, abuse and torture by armed groups are common, with trafficking from Libya across the Mediterranean a multimillion-dollar business. .
As governments across Europe take a harsh stance on immigration, it’s the people like Conte and her team at MSF who are in charge of search and rescue.
In this episode of Close Up, we’ll follow Conte and her team aboard the Geo Barents as they work tirelessly to save lives at sea and navigate European governments’ immigration crackdown.
A movie by Raul Gallego Abellan
Editor: Raul Gallego Abellan
Producer: Raul Gallego Abellan & Tierney Bonini
EP: Tierney Bonini