These steps must refugees go through

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The Louise-Marie is patrolling at the moment for the Libyan coast to the people and arms trafficking, to help disrupt, especially by intelligence gathering and suspicious boats to track. It is not intended that the Louise-Marie is actively looking for boat people. That task seems Surgery Sophia especially to ngos.

If it is necessary to save lives, intervenes in the Louise-Marie of course. The entire frigate, of for – to helidek, is then ready to have dozens or hundreds of people to catch. Artillerieofficier Marleen explains how that works.

‘First snatch the two RHIB’s. They are approaching the boat, one on each side, to prevent the people to one side, and that the boat and this capsizes. Everyone will first receive a life jacket dropped. Then, the refugees in small groups transferred, a maximum of nine to ten people per lifeboats. If we see that the boat is rapidly sinking, or people already in the water, we act faster.’

Via the grand staircase or ” Mediterranean Zeetrap’ on the starboard side of the migrants on board. The staircase has a slope and a platform. The people are assisted, a diver is in the water. Who is too weak, even with the lifeboats on board are hoisted.

First, the refugees in a ‘schuifelbak’ steps with disinfecting mats. On the main deck, there are six crew members for them to wait. As a welcome, they get a cup of water and a ziekenhuisbandje with a number. Also their hands are disinfected.

“Then should the people waiting to be searched. That happens on the foredeck, says artillerieofficier Marleen. “All possessions will be confiscated and stored. Medication should not the people. Unless the doctor decides the medication to keep yourself to serve when needed.”

On the main deck on the port side, waiting for the refugees and migrants to be registered. ‘The main phase’, says Marleen. “We will take a photo and measure their length. At a table, we record their name and age and if they can give answers – from what country they come from, or they for their journey paid, with whom they are travelling together, and so forth.”

Are the refugees not suspicious to have that information to share? “Most are relieved that they are saved and listen very carefully to our instructions. Some fly even around the neck. Two years ago I was sitting at the Leopold I. We have a lot of boys of less than fourteen to sixteen saved. They look very good on, afraid to do something wrong.’

Fingerprints take we not, ” she emphasizes. ‘That is not within our jurisdiction.’ For the first time, a carabinieri on board, a quiet balding man who does what in the background, but that may not take fingerprints. This is only allowed on Italian territory. “He will be in the search be present in order to see to it that everything is done correctly, for the case of afterwards a complaint might be lodged by someone who claims that he is not all his possessions has recovered or so.’

After the registration follows a medical examination. In the aisle on the deck are some of the stretchers. “We are trying to avoid the infirmary in the ship must be used. You never know what infectious diseases refugees may transfer, such as tb. Since all rooms on the same ventilation system, the ship is able to infect, ” says artillerieofficier Marleen.

Care must therefore be on the deck. If it can be avoided, people with the helicopter to another ship that’s better equipped. The Louise-Marie has not operating room, the doctor is not a surgeon. The doc wants to be prepared on a stressbevalling and has asked to the next port a bevallingskit on board. Regularly make pregnant women the dangerous crossing. Surgery Sophia owes its name, by the way to a Somali baby on a frigate in the world has come.

After the medical examination to get the refugees a cup of water, a blanket, and dry clothes, and they will be on the helidek collected, at the rear of the frigate. There they must remain until they are in Italy, are deposited. As long as the helicopter in the hangar. The sun burns for days on the helidek. You get so burned. ‘But if needed we can with sailing spots shade for the people’, says Marleen. ‘Women and children let’s also, as much as possible to enjoy the natural shadow plane for the hangar.’

With wooden palettes in a corner of the helidek a fence. Behind it is the entrance to the toilets. By a hatch, the refugees in the waaigat, a deck lower. There is specially for the command of the frigate a row of three toilets.

‘Four times per day to get the people food: rice and vegetables. No pork.’ Does that dispensation in a decent manner? “A lot of people are afraid there will not be enough. You can’t imagine what some have endured, days without food and drink at sea. But last year, we have a very good system, invented to avoid problems, ” says Marleen. “During the food distribution, we let the people in rows and sit down. Then may the people in the back sit because they are the first to board, first to their food to pick up along the port side, and so through the starboard side back to their place. Guards walk between the rows and tapping the people when it is their turn. That works very well.’

The last stop speaks, perhaps, the most to the imagination: the ‘temporary holding facility’: a cage with a toilet, also in the waaigat, but then on the other side. Artillerieofficier She first asks the commander permission or we a look. Only taking pictures should not. The cage was made for the Operation Atalanta, against piracy off the Somali coast, but this was the army, though criticism.

“We separate here, only immigrants as temporary if they are unruly or a danger to themselves and to others,” stresses Lisa. ‘Possible human traffickers, we must not close. That authority, and we have not. We try thanks to the discussions with the refugees as much information as possible about the smugglers to collect, but it is not our job to get them eventually to identify. Sometimes that is difficult. The person who is the engine of a boat operate, can be a smuggler, but also a refugee, who in return for that job, nothing for his crossing has to pay.’

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