Tunisian fishers became rescue squads as a result of the refugee situation.
Anglers in the area of Tunisia’s southern coastal city of Zarzis are worried about more than just the weather and the daily tuna and dorado caught. The rescue of migrants has become an all-too-common part of the anglers’ daily routine in this region of Tunisia.
“Mayday, Mayday!” exclaims fisherman Salahadin al-Sadawi, demonstrating how he summoned assistance when he came across a migrant boat on a Saturday afternoon a few weeks ago, saving 180 people. He reveals that the middle-aged fisherman had signed up for a training course with Doctors Without Borders and understood what to do. Standing in a shack in Zarzis’ port, Al-Badawi demonstrates how he painstakingly followed an instruction sheet he got in August during a six-day training session that covered rescue and corpse retrieval techniques with 116 local anglers. When locals saw al-fishing Sadawi’s boat approximately 60 kilometers off the Tunisian coast, they started shouting and waving. He stayed with the ship until a helicopter and rescue boat came nearly an hour later, carrying the migrants to safety.
A boat was transporting migrants.
However, this was not the middle-aged fisherman’s first encounter with a migrant boat. He notes that it has become a common sight. Even though he has previously attempted to assist, he and his coworkers have a general dread of being suspected of being smugglers or, worse, being kidnapped. The rescue effort is hazardous and perhaps dangerous for anglers who frequently operate tiny boats. As a result, they had mostly attempted to assist by giving the boat directions and providing water to the passengers. They then left if the ships were in decent shape. However, at sea, both passenger safety and weather conditions may alter rapidly.
Boats transporting migrants and refugees
It’s critical to communicate effectively with the migrant/refugee boats. Many onboard are in desperate situations after days of drifting; they are frequently afraid after going without food and drink for an extended length of time. There’s a chance that seeing a boat will trigger fear on board. As a result, al-Sadawi argues that one of the most crucial tasks for anglers is to maintain calm when they come across a migrant ship. He added that they must remain still in the boats, demonstrating with hand gestures how he tries to convey a sense of security by informing them that assistance is on the way. However, there have been instances where the passengers panic and all go to one side of the boat, causing the ship to tip over and dump the migrants into the river, according to the anglers.
The trafficking route through the Libyan coastal city of Zuwara is not new, but it has grown in popularity, as has the wider trend across the Mediterranean Sea. According to the UNHCR’s September 2015 datasheet, seven boats carrying around 900 persons were rescued off the coast of Tunisia during the first half of 2015. A total of 147 people applied for asylum. Most migrants enter Tunisia through the southern border, utilizing traffickers based in Libya. Zarzis lies near the Libyan border and 70 kilometers from Zuwara, one of Libya’s 1770-kilometer-long coastline’s people trafficking hotspots. Migrant boats that have fallen off course for whatever reason, generally owing to engine failure, frequently land up along the shore near al-home Sadawi’s port.
The origins of those attempting to reach Europe’s coastlines vary. Thousands are from African nations like Nigeria, Somalia, and Eritrea, but there are also many from the Middle East, particularly Syria, which is in a civil war. The fishers who work these coastal waters are frequently the sole source of hope for those who find themselves stranded at sea. However, this is not the case.