Lion demands more humanitarian radicalism We meet Lion Kircheis in the small kitchen of the Sea-Watch office in Berlin, a cup of filter coffee in his hands. For others, it is the end of the working day soon. Lion will probably stay longer tonight, as usual. The 23-year-old would not refuse to work overtime, not…
Since the year 2000 more than 23.000 people died trying to reach Europe’s shores. After the end of the Mare Nostrum operation in the Mediterranean Sea three business partners from Germany decided to found the nonprofit NGO Sea-Watch e.V. We are acting politically, economically and religiously independently.
The initiators bought a 98 years old fish trawler to start an important mission: saving lives where states fail to act. A crew of volunteers refitted the MS Sea-Watch, working day and night to make the vessel suitable for Search and Rescue (SAR) operations.
The success of the project was based mostly on hard work and the collaborative effort of a highly professional and motivated team. This was and remains Sea-Watch’s biggest asset. With our new ship, the Sea-Watch 2, we were able to assist the rescue of 20.000 people in 2016.
In the same year, more than 5.000 refugees and migrants drowned in the Mediterranean or are still missing according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
These people are not victims of a natural disaster, they are dying because of a political decision to let them drown at sea. The European Union is turning a blind eye instead of helping those seeking protection. With concern we observe political cooperation between the EU and Libya, a country where human rights are abused on a daily basis. The same „Libyan Coast Guard“ that is now receiving 200 Million Euro in funds from the EU, intervened during a rescue mission of the Sea-Watch 2 in October and caused the death of several people.