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The Left-to-die boat
Institute of Contemporary Arts
Central Mediterranean Sea, 27 March 2011 
(Investigation 2012)

The report on the ‘Left-to-die boat’ case, produced in collaboration with a coalition of NGOs, reconstructs an incident that occurred at the time of the Nato military intervention in Libya in 2011. 72 passengers who left the Libyan coast heading in the direction of the island of Lampedusa on board a small rubber boat, were left to drift for 14 days within Nato’s maritime surveillance area, despite several distress signals relaying their location, as well as repeated interactions with at least one military helicopter and a military ship. As a result of the inaction of all state actors involved, only nine of the passengers survived. By combining their testimonies with wind and sea-current data Forensic Oceanography modelled the migrants’ boat’s drift. In parallel, they re-appropriated satellite imagery to detect vessels in the boat’s vicinity that failed to act to avert its fate.

Collaborators: SITU Research
Project team: Charles Heller, Lorenzo Pezzani, Richard Limeburner, Samaneh Moafi, Rossana Padeletti
Produced within the frame of Forensic Architecture with the support of the House of World Cultures (HKW).