Med Sea: 41 people died in a shipwreck off Lampedusa

"These kinds of tragedies happen daily in the Mediterranean and at the European borders, right in front of everyone's eyes. More and more people have been taking the sea to find refuge over the last few days and weeks, and several deadly shipwrecks have occurred, particularly along the Tunisian route.

On Monday, MSF teams onboard the Search and Rescue vessel Geo Barents overheard a boat-in-distress call over the radio. We arrived at the location and rescued a group of people, but three had gone overboard. We found two survivors after a long, thorough search, and the third person went missing. What if we had never overheard that call? Would we still be counting deaths? Saving lives cannot be a matter of luck, coincidence, or neglect; we need an active and responsible Search and Rescue mechanism in the Mediterranean now! These are not mere incidents; they demonstrate that European governments' efforts to externalize border policies are not set in favour of people on the move, but it will make their journeys more dangerous and precarious."

Juan Matías Gil, MSF Search and Rescue Representative.

Photographer: Anna Pantelia/MSF
Photographer: Anna Pantelia/MSF

About Doctors Without Borders (MSF)

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is a global network of principled medical and other professionals who specialise in medical humanitarian work, driven by our common humanity and guided by medical ethics. We strive to bring emergency medical care to people caught in conflicts, crises, and disasters in more than 70 countries worldwide.

In South Africa, the organisation is recognised as one of the pioneers of providing Antiretroviral Treatment (ART) in the public sector and started the first HIV programmes in South Africa in 1999. Until today, the focus of MSF’s interventions in the country has primarily been on developing new testing and treatment strategies for HIV/AIDS and TB in Eshowe (Kwa-Zulu Natal) and Khayelitsha (Western Cape).

In Tshwane, we run a migration project, and we offer medical and psychosocial care to migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers, who struggle to access public health services under South Africa’s increasingly restrictive.

Previously we offered free, high-quality, confidential medical care to survivors of SGBV in Rustenburg.

To learn more about our work in South Africa, please visit this page on our website ( To support MSF’s work:

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Seipati Moloi
Seipati Moloi Head of Media and Digital Relations, Doctors Without Borders (MSF)
About Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Southern Africa

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