They don't say, but I spent a week on board the search and rescue vessel of the responder and what's been dubbed the deadliest reach for migrants trying to make it to Europe between Libya and Italy. It took us two days to get to the area of operation off the coast of Libya.
We were ready then, spotting on the coastline for any vessels that needed our help. But on the third day, we had an alert from a rescue vessel in the area which had taken on many more migrants than it normally would, up to 200 and was listing 40 degrees each way.
So we had to intervene and help immediately. So we then took on board 352 migrants in total and a medical team of just three assessed all of them to see if they needed urgent medical assistance. The crew on board gave out blankets to keep the migrants warm, and water, and they were just given biscuits for the duration of their stay.
Many of them had been floating at sea on rubber dinghies for up to 24 hours. They were exhausted, drained when they came on board. I could see the relief In their eyes. I realized very quickly just how little these migrants had with them. Some of them had backpacks with cigarettes in, some aftershave, but many of them arrived bare-chested without any shoes.
One little girl I met, a four-year-old from Mali, had lost her mother a couple of hours before. She drowned at sea. But one of the moments that will stay with me the most, is when I met 24-year-old Juliet from Nigeria. She'd fled Boko Haram, who'd killed her sisters and her mother, crossed the desert with her father, where he perished.
And eventually made it to Libya where she feared for her life, thought she was going to be raped or kidnapped, and so got on a rubber dinghy to head out to sea.>> I have no father any more. No relation, no blood brother, no blood sister.>> I was inside editing a package, and suddenly one of the crew rushed in and told me that I had to come outside immediately.
The migrants had spotted dry land for the first time, and they were celebrating