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On the evening of Friday, May 6, the organization "Alarm Phone" reported an emergency at sea in international waters north of the Libyan port city of Benghazi. Hapag-Lloyd’s "Berlin Express" was the first ship on the scene and found a small wooden boat, completely overcrowded with 34 people.
Due to the high swell and especially because of the height of the freeboard, the people in distress could not be rescued directly without further endangering their lives. Therefore, the crew of the "Berlin Express" provided them with food and drinking water and launched a life raft. The Berlin Express remained with the distressed until they were rescued. One crew member was slightly injured during the operation.
The German Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) Bremen assisted in coordinating the rescue measures.
Also coming to the rescue was the "BSG Bahamas", which is managed by the Hamburg-based CPO Containerschiffreederei GmbH & Co. KG. At noon on Sunday, the crew managed to evacuate the 34 affected people to their ship. At this point, they had been at sea for four nights. Then, late Sunday afternoon, the "Sea-Eye 4", requested by German authorities, met the "BSG Bahamas" and took over the completely exhausted castaways. The ship of the German aid organization SEA-EYE has a medical team, an on-board hospital, sufficient provisions and sleeping berths.
The "Berlin Express" was able to continue its journey. “I am very proud of the crew. Our captain and the entire crew did an outstanding job. From the first minute, there was no question that we would help those in distress as best we could,” said Silke Muschitz, Head of Fleet Management. “We sincerely thank the crew of the Sea-Eye for their good support. Our captains were in constant exchange and the situation has once again shown how important well-coordinated cooperation is when rescuing people in distress at sea.”
“Without the crews of the 'Berlin Express' and the 'Bahamas', those affected would have had no chance of survival. They would have either died of thirst or drowned,” said Gorden Isler, Chairman of Sea-Eye e. V.