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NATO responds to migrant distress call

NATO - North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

12 May. 2011

Naples, Italy. A NATO warship enforcing the Embargo Operations provides aid and assistance to migrant vessel last night.

The Romanian Frigate REGELE FERDINAND, part of NATO’s OPERATION UNIFIED PROTECTOR and tasked with enforcing the Maritime Embargo of Libya provided support to a small 15-metre long vessel with approximately 150 persons onboard. The vessel, which had departed Misurata on 9 May, had developed mechanical problems and was taking on water and was adrift some 100 miles North of Tripoli.

At about midnight on 12 May, an engineering team from the Frigate went onboard the migrant vessel and discovered that the engine was defective due to 3 broken drive-belts and that water was entering the boat because the shaft-seal was leaking. The team repaired and restarted the engine, sorted out the problem with the leak and ensured that the bilge-pump was working correctly to remove water from the boat. The team also proved the people onboard, which included 10 women and 15 children, with food and water as well as some additional fuel for the journey. The engineering team returned to FERDINAND at about 4 o’clock in the morning and the warship remained in visual contact with the vessel as it continued on its northerly transit.

This migrant vessel, which was allegedly provided by Libyan military officials, was crewed by 3 Syrians. The migrants, who had reportedly paid between 300-1000 USD for the trip, were from various African nations including the Congo, Ghana, Nigeria and Sudan.

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