A luxury liner rescues migrants in the Atlantic: “We came up against reality”

On Friday, June 21, shortly after 8 a.m., hundreds of tourists disembarked from their cruise ship in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Some went for a walk on the quay, others took a minibus that would take them to the city’s attractions. As they left, these travelers left to their right the few tents in which the Red Cross was caring for almost all the sub-Saharan citizens with whom, for two days, the vacationers had shared the thick carpet of the transatlantic liner. Insignia, after a dramatic night rescue. For the first, after a quick visit to Tenerife, the next stop would be Lisbon, and finally New York. For the others, it remained an unknown.

Some privileged people can afford the luxury of spending six months of vacation on board a cruise ship where cabin prices range from 40,000 to 150,000 dollars (37,000 to 140,000 euros). On Thursday (June 20), they crossed paths with these unfortunate people who, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, are trying to reach the Canaries.

L’Insignia, an imposing 181-meter-long ship, recovered Thursday at 12:31 a.m. 67 sub-Saharans – including three children between 7 and 9 years old, and a pregnant woman – and the bodies of three others (according to a report from the Spanish emergency services , 67 occupants of the boat were rescued, and six others died). All under the watchful eye of around 300 tourists, mainly American and Mexican, who had embarked in June for a select cruise around the world. “We have been living a journey in a bubble of happiness for almost five months,” summarizes the Mexican Gila Padilla, once on dry land.

“And suddenly we were faced with this sad reality.”

The canoe had just completed around twenty days of crossing, as calculated on the dock by Marcela Posca, of the Canary Islands Emergency Service (SUC). The boat was spotted drifting on Tuesday afternoon by the tanker Philipp Oldendorff, 815 kilometers south of Tenerife.

The crew of the 250-metre-long boat was unable to hoist the survivors on board, and the Tenerife Sea Rescue Centre alerted theInsigniawhich was going to reach Tenerife from Cape Verde. “We have been all over the world: Hawaii, Polynesia, New Zealand, Japan, Africa… The dream…” remembers Pepe, a Mexican from Monterrey, in his fifties, who paid 90 for his ticket

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