BREAKING NEWS – 28.02.2020 10:46
On her way to the Caribbean AVONTUUR has picked up 15 boat people this morning about 80nm south of Gran Canaria. AVONTUUR has changed course immediately and will take them to a safe haven in the Canary Islands as quickly as possible. No further details know at this moment. We will keep you informed
No idea how the others are coping with this, I mean all those brave and willing to help no matter the outcome. This is very emotional to say the least, and it is quite apparent that this rescue was coming from our heart. Everyone on board helped where possible, may that be for translation, cleaning the boat people, feeding them or administering first aid. We took them on board not knowing how long we would end up being with them, but this was not a question for anyone. Luckily we only had to deal with minor bruises, rashes from saltwater (some of them already open), and hypothermia. There may have been more, but this is what we could attend to in the short time that we had the boat people on board. Five women and eleven men from the Ivory Coast had made their way into the open sea, not knowing the exact course, nor how long they would be underway, in their quest to find a safe haven in the Canary Islands. Having run out of food three days ago, seasick and without hope; what a bleak situation to be in. They had no more fuel to keep their little outboard going, drifting about 45 nautical miles south of Gran Canaria, surely going into their sure death if no one would have found them. The rescue plane said to have been searching them for a number of days by now, apparently aware of them having left for uncertainty since some time. We washed and fed them, treated their wounds and gave them our moral support as best as possible. And by this noon 12:18 they were picked up by a fast rescue vessel from the Spanish MRCC of Gran Canaria. The goodbyes were heartwarming and the boat people so enormously grateful. And right thereafter it became obvious: the crew needed a moment for themselves to reflect, meditate, rest. Tears in everyone’s eyes. What makes someone do such a voyage? Unimaginable what desperation these people must be in.
We wish them luck and only the best. And of course, we thanked the Spanish MRCC for their immediate response who, thanks to Cornelius moving all he could, to have them assist us.