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Patrolling the Deadliest known Migration Route in the World

On Wednesday night, Humanity 1’s crew had received two different Mayday calls about boats in distress, and they desperately tried to clarify whether there was another boat nearby. The first Mayday came from Frontex, the European border control, regarding a wooden boat carrying 40 people and the other from Alarm Phone, [a hotline for people in distress] regarding 90 people. Humanity 1 is operated by the German NGO SOS Humanity and has been undertaking risky search-and-rescue missions across the Mediterranean Sea since 2022. At least 2,498 refugees, migrants and asylum seekers are known to have drowned in 2023 while crossing the central Mediterranean according to the International Organization for Migration, making it the deadliest year since 2017. But the real number is believed to be far higher.