Crossing the Mediterranean Sea: To Survive or To Die | Close Up

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“This sea has become a graveyard, so every second, every minute is important,” says Fulvia Conte, a team leader on the Geo Barrantes, a search-and-rescue ship operated by Doctors Without Borders (Medicines Sans Frontires, or MSF). . ) who sets out to sea in search of asylum seekers desperate to reach Europe.

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The Mediterranean crossing is the deadliest known migration route worldwide. Every day, six people die trying to reach Europe in ships that are not seaworthy. “Imagine you put all your life in a bag, you put yourself and your family on a boat hoping not to lose your life at sea,” Conte explained the dire situation of the migrants before making the treacherous crossing. Describing said. “Many say they would rather die at sea than go back to Libya.”

For years, Libya has been a transit country for refugees and economic migrants fleeing poverty, persecution and conflict in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. Many arrive in Libya in the hope of a better life in the sanctuary of Europe. But the country’s chaos means corruption, abuse and torture by armed groups are rampant, with human trafficking from Libya to the Mediterranean being a multimillion-dollar business.


As governments across Europe take tougher stances on immigration, it is people like Conte and his team at MSF who shoulder the search and rescue responsibilities.

In this episode of Close Up, we follow Conte and his team aboard the Geo Barents as they work tirelessly to save lives at sea and navigate the crackdown on immigration by European governments.

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a film by Raul Gallego Abelan

Editors: Raul Gallego Abellan

Producers: Ral Gallego Abellan and Tierney Bonnick

EP: Tierney Bonini

Credit: /

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