Sea-Watch is looking for a SAR Coordinator & Head of Mission

immediately (40h/week)

Sea-Watch e.V. is a non-profit initiative dedicated to the civil sea rescue of people on the move. In view of the humanitarian disaster in the central Mediterranean Sea-Watch provides emergency aid, demands and at the same time forces the rescue by the responsible European institutions and publicly stands up for legal escape routes. We are politically and religiously independent and are financed exclusively by donations.

The Operational Coordination department is looking for new team members starting as soon as possible. The position is both land-based and ship-based with a rotation concept between the roles of SAR Coordinator (SARCO) on land and Head of Mission (HoM) on board the Sea-Watch 5. Our rotation model foresees the person on this position to work one rotation (around 5-6 weeks) as a SARCO from shore, followed by one rotation as a HoM on board the Sea-Watch 5, and then one month off.

SAR Coordinator Role
The SAR Coordinator is our focal point on shore who ensures smooth operations, by supporting and advising the Head of Mission on board with tactical and strategical operational decisions and liaising with respective departments during active operations. During non-operative times, the SARCO works on operational, structural and strategical topics in Sea-Watch in general, liaises with other internal departments as well as other organizations, maintains relevant Standard Operational Procedures (SOPs) and other related tasks.

Head of Mission Role
The role of the Head of Mission (HoM) is to lead Sea-Watch operations and crew during a mission, coordinating Search and Rescue activities and represent the organization Sea-Watch e.V. on board the ship. An overarching responsibility is to manage the team on board, as well as coordination and communication between departments on the ship – and between ship and shore. The HoM works closely alongside the Captain and SARCO, while maintaining distinct roles, tasks and responsibilities, with the HoM being accountable for all mission-related decision making, while the master bears the legal responsibility and makes respective decisions on board.

We are thus looking for someone with both coordination experience in SAR as well as practical experience with rescue operations in our specific context. We offer you a supportive team with a can-do attitude which will support you and share your tasks and an organisation that encourages engagement on several levels.

Your tasks:

When covering a rotation as SARCO:

  • Organize operational briefings and debriefings with all relevant parties for every rotation
  • Briefing/debriefing and support of the Head of Mission during their entire deployment
  • Focal point for the ship during mission (on call around the clock – with support by other SARCOs)
  • Liaise with relevant departments on operational topics
  • Facilitate mission relevant alignment and information exchanges

In your rotation free time/long term SARCO tasks:

  • Liaise with relevant departments on long term operational topics (e.g. areas of operation, trends in migration routes, tactical setup etc.)
  • Take care of the rescue setup in a tactical approach, coordinate with relevant departments on operational needs, technical and regulatory requirements
  • Further developrelevant SOPs and incorporate learnings and developments in the SOP’s

When covering a rotation as Head of Mission:

  • During mission preparation, working closely with the SARCO to develop briefing, training and watch keeping schedules and attend pre-mission calls
  • Ensuring that all mandatory trainings, briefings and drills take place successfully prior to departure
  • Confirming mission readiness, while developing and implementing a contingency in the event of any identified discrepancy or irregularity amongst equipment, vessel or mission crew
  • Being the overall focal point for all crew on board for mission related topics and task
  • Oversee other crew members in managing their responsibilities according to their positions on board, facilitating additional support
  • Leading the team, maintaining crew morale and ensure well-being as well as conflict management, engage in team building measures to ensure a functional team ready for operation, being mindful of any possible limitations in capacity within the crew

Your profile:

  • Extensive and preferably recent SAR experience on the central Mediterranean Sea (minimum 2 seagoing missions), ideally in a leadership position
  • Teamwork: patience and resilience with the ability to reach good decisions in a constantly developing field as well as an stressful environment and emergency situations
  • Diplomacy and leadership skills to come to decisions in a cooperative and constructive approach with different teams, groups and departments
  • Ability to prioritize, organize and delegate and the capacity to act decisively and effectively in the face of rapidly evolving challenges
  • High degree of initiative and flexibility both when faced with challenges and regarding working hours (must be able to work long night shifts)
  • Well informed about the latest developments in the central Mediterranean, Libya and Tunisia, developments in Italy and on EU level
  • Ability and willingness to travel regularly (to meetings or ships) during SARCO deployment and willingness and ability to spend 5 weeks on board at a time
  • Physical fitness and mental resilience
  • Excellent English language skills
  • Experience in working with volunteers
  • Basic nautical skills (for rescue operations) and functioning knowledge of all positions on board Sea-Watch 5
  • Identification with and good knowledge of the vision and goals of Sea-Watch e.V.

Desired skills/certifications:

  • You have sailed on board a Sea-Watch vessel within the last 24 months or spend several months at sea on board a comparable rescue vessel
  • Italian/French/Arabic language skills
  • (STCW) Basic Safety Certificate
  • Medical fitness certificate
  • Watch keeping license

We offer you:

  • Insights into the work of an NGO in sea rescue
  • Independent work and the creative freedom to help shape our operations
  • A position with a workload of 40 hours per week
  • Place of work in the Berlin office/home office and in the current port/on board
  • Salary: 3,400 Euro (employee gross)*
  • The position is initially limited for a year with the wish for extension
Foto: Chris Grodotzki

We look forward to receiving your application!

Please apply via our online application form with a letter of motivation that includes information about your experience of previous sea-going rotations and a CV without photo as well as two references.

Letter of motivation and CV have to be submitted in one pdf-document.

As we are committed to an inclusive society without racism and with freedom of movement for all, we especially welcome applications from LGBTQI*, BIPoC, people with disabilities, people with migration histories, and people from other groups that are underrepresented in the NGO and ship’s world. You are welcome to refrain from providing application photos and information on age and marital status


*From January 1, 2024, we have a new salary model that allows for percentage gross salary increases that take into account family needs and personal disabilities. In addition, the salary increases by 3% with every year being with Sea-Watch

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