The “Poseidon” will soon be saving lives in the Mediterranean
In a covert bidding process, the alliance United4Rescue and the sea rescue organisation Sea-Watch were able to purchase the former research vessel “Poseidon”. The hashtag of the alliance #WirSchickenEinSchiff („We send a ship“) is to become reality this spring.
Until the end of 2019, the “Poseidon” was used as a research vessel. Due to its size and technical data, it is very well suited to be used for sea rescue in the near future. Conversions are still necessary before the ship can take on new tasks. “Above all, we need a good hospital ward on board”, says Thies Gundlach, chairman of the Trägerverein Gemeinsam Retten e.V. “From the operations carried out by Sea-Watch so far, we know very well how a rescue ship has to be equipped so that rescued people can be cared for and safely brought ashore”, adds Haidi Sadik, spokeswoman of Sea-Watch.
Vice Chairman Michael Schwickart, who himself has already served as a rescuer at sea, reminds us that the ship also needs dinghies, for example: “Fast lifeboats are necessary to get close enough to boats in distress to be able to first aid people or pull them out of the water. In these situations, it’s a matter of minutes.”
But the conversions are kept within a manageable framework, says Schwickart. The conversion of the ship should begin immediately. Sea-Watch and United4Rescue hope that the ship will be ready to go into service as early as Easter.
Thanks to many organisations and individuals who donated to the purchase of the ship, United4Rescue and Sea-Watch were able to win the contract in the bidding process. “What a great joint success! We are very, very grateful”, says Gundlach. Further donations are now needed to ensure the conversion of the ship. Once this has been done, the alliance also wants to support the operations of other sea rescue organisations. “The sea rescue organizations have a common goal, so we help each other,” emphasizes Johannes Bayer, Chairman of Sea-Watch: “The dying in the Mediterranean must come to an end!”.
The alliance United4Rescue was founded two months ago, on December 3, 2019. In the meantime more than 300 institutions, associations, companies and initiatives belong to it. They come from very different social areas (www.united4rescue.com/partners). The initiative for an additional rescue ship and for the alliance came from the Protestant Church. The alliance has long since extended far beyond church boundaries.
The Alliance stands for four demands on German and European politics:
1) Make sea rescue possible,
2) End the criminalisation of sea rescue,
3) Ensure fair asylum procedures and
4) enable “safe harbours” to take action.
The sea rescue organisation Sea-Watch is a direct cooperation partner for the alliance’s first project to strengthen sea rescue in the Mediterranean by providing an additional rescue ship: #We send a ship.
Since 2015 Sea-Watch has experience in sea rescue and has saved the lives of many thousands of people. In addition to its current Sea-Watch 3 mission, the organization will ensure the operation of an additional vessel. Sea-Watch is itself a member of the alliance.