Rescue at Sea off Lebanon’s Coast
232 people were rescued by UNIFIL’s Maritime Task Force (MTF) and the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) Navy from a sinking boat in the evening of 31 December 2022, hours after it left northern Lebanon's coast.
On board the ill-fated vessel were men, women and children when their boat broke down off the coast of Lebanon between Beirut and Tripoli and started to take on water.
The distress call set in motion a search and rescue operation by the LAF Navy and two of UNIFIL’s MTF ships, the Indonesian Frans Kaisiepo, which had just arrived as part of UNIFIL’s Maritime Task Force and the Greek ship Spetsai, which rushed to the scene to help with the rescue operation.
Although the hopelessly overcrowded boat, the fear on board and the less-than-ideal sea conditions presented challenges to the rescue operation, the coordination between the LAF Navy and MTF ships resulted in rescuing 232 passengers and crew. Sadly, a woman and a girl were found dead in the waters.
The rescued passengers were then transported by the MTF ships and the LAF Navy to the port of Tripoli where they were transferred to shore and handed over to the Lebanese authorities.