Current mission

Seabird 1 & 2

Civilian aerial reconnaissance mission at the world’s deadliest border

Sea-Watch is not only operative at sea, but also in the air. With our two monitoring aircraft we can cover a large sea area, where we document human rights violations and report distress cases. On the one hand, we monitor and document human rights abuses, mostly illegal pull backs by the so-called Libyan Coast Guard and – increasingly – of cases of non-assistance at sea. This is because state ships are not patrolling the area and civilian rescue ships are repeatedly blocked and prevented from doing their work. On the other hand, if on one of our flights we get notice of a maritime or aviational distress, we report it to the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCCs) and rescue ships.

Ain’t no border high enough

Our aircraft


Together with the Swiss Humanitarian Pilot Initiative (HPI), Sea-Watch has been operating Moonbird, a civilian monitoring aircraft of the type Cirrus SR22, since spring 2017. The propeller aircraft can take a crew of 3 – 4 persons on board and cover an area of about 16,000 km2, which is about half of the area of Belgium. One mission takes about 6 hours, of which up to 5 hours can be spent in the operational area off the coast of Libya.


As of spring 2020, we also have our Seabird, a twin-engined high-performance Beechcraft Baron 58 aircraft, which enables us to fly missions with up to 5 crew members. The sea area that we can cover during a mission with Seabird is almost twice as large as that of the Moonbird: about 27,000 km2 – roughly the size of Brandenburg. In addition, with Seabird we can monitor the sea area for about 7.5 hours.

1,000 deaths in the Mediterranean prevented in the first year of operation alone: The civilian eye over the Mediterranean

Since 2017, hundreds of boats in distress have been found by the aircraft crew, some of them so badly damaged that people were already in the water. In its first year of operating alone, Moonbird was able to assist in rescuing 1,000 people who otherwise most likely would have drowned.

Partners and supporters

We would like to thank all our supporters who made our joint efforts with HPI possible. Special thanks go to the Evangelical Church of Germany (EKD). Without their generous support the Sea-Watch aircraft operation would probably never have been realized.

We would also like to thank the Vartan Group for their support.

Our future missions will continue to be funded exclusively by donations – with your supporting membership we can continue our Airborne mission so that no more people drown unnoticed in the Mediterranean Sea, but instead have the chance to be rescued in time.