>> This is Hassan Ali on-board a rescue dingy heading towards a boat of migrants. When Hassan was 13, the migrant boat he was travelling on capsized in the Mediterranean Sea, killing 100 people. He was saved by a stranger who later drowned.>> A person pulled me out of the capsizing boat.
He took me away from the boat itself. He put me on his shoulders, and I saw this person descending slowly under water in front of my eyes. At a certain point, I was already safe, and he drowned in front of my eyes. I didn't know him, I didn't know who he was, I knew nothing about him.
>> That day, Hassan swore to himself that one day he'd return to the seas and rescue migrants from the waters just as he'd been saved on his way from Egypt. He's now 30 and working on the rescue ship Aquarius pulling migrants like these to safety from rickety boats.
The Italian Coast Guard used to work closely with NGOs to pinpoint migrant ships in distress. But the new populist Italian government has taken a rigid anti-immigration line, refusing to let any more migrant rescue ships dock in Italy unless other EU states have agreed to take the people in.
More than 650,000 people have reached Italy's shores in just four years. As a deterrent, the Italian Coast Guard no longer provides coordinates of boats in distress. So the Aquarius goes from fishing vessel to fishing vessel, with Hassan asking in Arabic if any migrant boats have been spotted.>> This sea has taken a lot of lives.
People have become used to hearing that 30 people died here and 40 people died there. But I think my hands are dirty because nobody has to die at sea.