It was a vessel that should have been put away and retired from service, but the Africans who were stranded in Tripoli simply wanted to get away as soon as they could from the madness of Gaddafi Libya. They had migrated to Libya in order to find work and made decent wages, but once war broke out they lost their jobs and were stuck in nowhere. Finally, they found a way to get this decrepit boat and set sail for Italy or anywhere that would receive some tired Africans. They were in the Mediterranean, half way to the shores of Italy when the boat simply was not going anywhere other than drifting.
The people contacted Italian authorities, they contacted a NATO helicopter and all that was received was a bottle of water. Days went on, and on. They drifted for 16 days as planes flew by them and no one came to their rescue. “Every morning,: said Abu Kurb, “we would wake up and find more bodies which we would keep for 24 hours and then throw overboard.”
When “help” arrived, 61 of the 72 people had died of thirst and hunger, including a few children. It was just another peaceful day in the quiet of the Mediterranean.