Civil aerial reconnaissance mission at Europe’s deadly sea border
Sea-Watch and Humanitarian Pilots Initiative prevent deadly shipwrecks
More than 100 refugees and migrants on a sinking rubber boat were rescued at the last minute on Easter Sunday after they were spotted by a reconnaissance airplane far from any rescue ship. At least seven people had already drowned. Those hundred lives can be chalked up to the balance sheet of the first joint mission between Sea-Watch and the Humanitarian Pilots Initiative (HPI). Thanks to the generous support of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), the light aircraft with the callsign “Moonbird” will be operating the whole summer.
The aerial reconnaissance mission initiated by Sea-Watch and the HPI fills a crucial gap in civil maritime rescue: first of all, by coordinating rescue operations to prevent shipwrecks, as happened on Easter Sunday. Yet it also exerts pressure on the EU by documenting its failure to help and its decision to allow people to drown on the Mediterranean. Our mission, and the mission statement which follows, is supported both by other NGOs from the civil rescue fleet and by respected political and humanitarian organisations like Pro Asyl and Medico International. We are certain that we have brought a new tool for political and humanitarian change to the table.