The Left To Die Boat

In March last year, 72 African migrants were forced onto an inflatable boat by Libyan soldiers in Tripoli. They were desperate to escape the fighting in Libya and hoping for a new life in Europe. Their boat headed for the small Italian island of Lampedusa, only 18 hours away across the Mediterranean. 

There was a Nato naval blockade of Libya at the time and the area was full of military ships and aircraft. Yet, despite a number of sightings, the boat was never rescued. 

Fifteen days later it washed up back on Libya’s coast with only 11 survivors on board – two more died soon after. 

In this documentary the survivors tell their story to producer Sharon Davis and she investigates how it was that these people were left to die in a boat in one of the most heavily-monitored seas on earth.

Listen to the documentary


Contributors and credits

Tineke Strik – Dutch Parliamentarian. Rapporteur, Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons, Council of Europe and author of report investigating the tragedy of the Left To Die Boat.

Lorenzo Pezzani – Human rights investigator and forensic architect and PhD student – Goldsmiths, University of London. Co-researcher on the Left To Die-Boat report for the European Research Council project “Forensic Architecture”.

Father Mussie Zerai – Eritrean Catholic priest based in Rome, Italy and Zurich, Switzerland. Founder and co-ordinator of Eritrean humanitarian refugee organisation, Agenzia Habeshia. 

Ghirma Halefom – Boat survivor, Eritrean

Abu Kurke Kebato – Boat survivor, Ethiopian 

Elias Kadi – Boat survivor, Ethiopian 

Mohamad Ibrahim – Boat survivor, Ethiopian 

Kebede Dadhi – Boat survivor, Ethiopian 

Producers – Sharon Davis and Geoff Parish 

Sound Engineer – Steven Tilley 

Actors – Thuso Lekwape and Fayssal Bazzi