12 Jun 15 19 Jun 15

Migration: MSF bolsters operations in the Mediterranean Sea

A third Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) search and rescue boat has set sail from Barcelona. Complete with a crew of 18, including medical staff, the vessel has the capacity to carry 300 people.

The Dignity I, will assist people escaping war, persecution and poverty who are making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean to Europe.

“What we are witnessing in the Mediterranean Sea is a humanitarian crisis,” says MSF’s Paula Farias, operational manager on the boat.

Saving lives 

“This rescue mission might seem different from our usual projects, in that it takes place at sea, but our priority is the same as in South Sudan or Syria – to save lives.”

The 50 metre-long vessel left the port of Barcelona on 13 June, joining the MY Phoenix and the Argos.

The MY Phoenix was launched by the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) with teams from MSF on board, on 2 May and has so far rescued 1,789 people. The Argos, run solely by MSF, started operations a week later on 9 May, and has so far rescued 1,242 people.

Preparations on the MSF ship Dignity I at Barcelona port.

Psychological support

In Italy, MSF provides medical care in the main reception centre in Pozzallo and psychological support in all secondary reception centres in Ragusa province.

A psychological first aid team can be deployed to different landing ports in Italy within 72 hours of receiving an alert.

“The number of people trying to cross the Mediterranean is likely to rise even higher in the coming weeks with the settled summer weather,” says Farias.

“We need a strong operation to be able to assist them and prevent the Mediterranean turning into a graveyard.” 

Find out more about our sea rescue operations