Sea-Watch sends its new flagship „Sea-Watch 3“ to a rescue mission at Europe’s deadly maritime borders for the first time, as people are still risking their lives on unseaworthy rubber boats to escape war torn Libya. Only yesterday, over 200 people risked drowning in the Mediterranean Sea, as a thunderstorm set in during a rescue of a boat our reconnaissance airplane #Moonbird had reported earlier. Everybody is now safe and on their way to Italy aboard the “Aquarius” which leaves the SAR zone with no civil rescue ship until the “Sea-Watch 3” will arrive tomorrow. Since Sea-Watch was founded in 2015, the volunteer crews were able to save more than 35,000 lives. With the flagship “Sea-Watch 3”, the organisation is able to conduct safe rescue operations all year round even in rough seas for the first time: We are sending 55 meters and 500 tons of steel to stop the dying in the Mediterranean.
The humanitarian crisis at the border of prosperity in the Mediterranean Sea is not over. Thousands of people are continuing to take the risk of the dangerous crossing to escape the terrible situations in the war-torn country of Libya, with more than 2800 lives lost at sea this year alone. „The Sea-Watch 3 plays a vastly important role for the entire civil sea rescue fleet. It offers us a significant surplus of safety to operate even in heavy seas. Onboard of the Sea-Watch 3 we will be able to provide support adequately to more rescued people for a longer period of time“, says Pia Klemp, Captain of the Sea-Watch 3. „I‘m happy, we are now finally departing to our deployment thanks to the countless voluntary supporters in the shipyard. Just in such a moment with almost no other rescue vessel operating in the SAR area, our efforts are urgently needed. The dramatic rescues yesterday clearly demonstrated this point“, says Captain Klemp.
Rescue missions in the Central Mediterranean have become more difficult and more dangerous during the last months, not least because of the attacks by the EU-funded Libyan coastguards. A few search and rescue organisations have therefore quit their engagement in the Mediterranean – which does not mean that fewer boats with migrants and refugees are coming. “Our presence is urgently needed especially now. We cannot leave the field to Libyan militias who breach international law on a daily basis”, resumes Head of Mission Johannes Bayer who is also member of the Sea-Watch board. “The European Union has chosen migration control over human rights. They don’t seem to spare any effort to prevent people in need from coming to Europe. The civil rescue fleet is the only authority on the Mediterranean to defend human rights and upholds sea rescue as its primary goal.”
Photos: Lisa Hoffmann
Information for journalists:
- The Sea-Watch 3 leaves Valetta port today at 4 pm to resume rescue operations in the SAR zone from tomorrow, November 3rd
- It is possible to interview the crew onboard via Skype and phone
- You will find free photo and video footage for publication at: www.flickr.com/sea-watch and on our Youtube Channel.
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