Photo: Moritz Richter
We will never forget the first operational day of the #IUVENTA: the sight of the ship with more than 400 people on board, whom we had saved in a joint, not uncomplicated, mission. The young crew were thrown straight in the deep end. Since then a lot has happened, Jugend Rettet e.V. has saved more than 14,000 people – and now the IUVENTA has been impounded!
When we set off on the first mission in 2015 with the Sea-Watch 1, a little old cutter, we did this with the demand that the European Union end the dying at its borders. To this day, no ships under EU command with a clear mandate for maritime rescue have been sent. Instead, a whole fleet of civil rescue ships came to help, including the IUVENTA. This civil fleet has, in the meantime, carried out a large proportion of rescues. If they were not on hand, many more people would die.
A drastic example of the absence of help from the EU came on Easter Sunday 2017 when our reconnaissance aircraft discovered a sinking rubber boat. The pilots had to watch the boat sink because no national ship was in the area, and the few civil ships left were tied up in other missions on that day. Luckily, the speedboat of the IUVENTA was called and was able to prevent the worst – but as long as the ship is tied up in the harbour, this will not be possible.
Instead of speculating about the accusations, the seizure of the IUVENTA should finally be called what it is: the deliberate hindrance of a rescue mission. This is not just a criminal offence, but a scandal!
We stand with Jugend Rettet, we will never allow ourselves to be divided and we will keep going. Together, we will continue to rescue people. They can seize our ships, but we will never accept that the European Union allows people to die at its borders.