Just before the sun dipped into the Mediterranean on Saturday, rescuers spotted a tiny wooden boat on the horizon. It turned out to contain five young Libyans fleeing violence and turmoil who were waving their arms for help.
The crew of the Seefuchs plucked them from the old fishing boat, gave them water and couscous and one of the men, 26-year-old Hamza Tekbali, explained why they had fled their country.
"Libya is terrible," Tekbali told Reuters as he waited to be transferred to an Italian coast guard vessel, fearing he would be sent straight back home. "In Libya, if you do not kill, they will kill you."
A third man, 24-year-old Alaa, said he was persecuted in Libya because his father had fought in Gaddafi's military.
Reuters was not able to talk to the fishing boat's two other passengers, Rami and Mohamed.
Tekbali said the five friends had planned their voyage for a month, and they set out from a beach between Sabratha and Zuwara after paying 5,000 euros ($5,888) to smugglers for the boat and the small outboard engine.