On 2 August 2017, the ship Iuventa was seized by the Italian judiciary. Its operators, members of the German NGO Jugend Rettet (‘Youth Rescue’), were accused of colluding with smugglers and ‘assistance with illegal migration’. The charges related to three different rescue operations: the first on the 10 September 2016, the second and third on 18 June 2017. The accusations came only days after Jugend Rettet, along with several other rescue NGOs, had refused to sign a ‘code of conduct’ that would have substantially limited their activities.
Forensic Architecture (FA) and Forensic Oceanography (FO) worked together to examine the accounts of those events presented by Italian authorities. Our analysis suggests that the Iuventa crew did not return empty boats to smugglers, as they were accused of having done. Nor do they appear to communicate with anyone potentially connected with smuggling networks, as the Italian authorities suggested they had.