The rescue vessel Sea-Watch 3 left the port of Licata (Sicily) this morning and is on its way to the search and rescue zone north of Libyan waters. The organisation had won an appeal in an Italian civil court against the illegal seizure of the ship, which had been detained since the end of June after the rescue of 53 people by captain Carola Rackete and crew.
The current rescue mission of Sea-Watch 3 is the first under the German flag. Sea-Watch was forced to change flag during the seizure, as the former Dutch flag state-imposed politically motivated new regulations on the organisation to make further rescue missions impossible.
While the political situation in Libya continues to deteriorate, there is also no end in sight to the humanitarian emergency in the Mediterranean. “Hundreds of people have drowned while the Sea-Watch 3 was unfairly held in port by Italian authorities. But now, we are finally able to set sail for our next rescue mission. We will never stop assisting people in distress in the Mediterranean, even despite the political games played all around us and the obstacles thrown at us,” says Johannes Bayer, Head of Mission on board Sea-Watch 3.