The private sea rescue NGO Sea-Eye has reacted to the accusations of Frontex Director Fabrice Leggeri and has offered its full support to the European border protection agency during the uncovering of smuggling activities.
In an interview with the newspaper “Die Welt” on 27 February 2017, Leggeri had accused the rescue organisations of encouraging the activities of traffickers with their operations.
In a letter to Frontex, Sea-Eye chairman Michael Buschheuer underlines that his organisation has always decidedly pronounced itself against the criminal trafficking organisations. “Traffickers are murderers,” Buschheuer declares. He calls it particularly “absurd” when EU and military circles accuse the NGOs of collaboration with the traffickers; Sea-Eye had always strictly refused any collaboration.
Buschheuer continues: “In this context we offer Frontex, the coast guard and other police institutions our active support during the uncovering of smuggling activities.”
Sea-Eye even goes a step further in the letter to Leggeri and grants Frontex “extensive insight into our financial and organisational structure.”
The rescue boat Sea-Eye, which has been cruising off the Libyan coast since April 2016 in order to rescue people in distress and at risk of drowning, receives its SOS signals from the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Rome. Alternatively, the operations take place based on own sightings of rubber boats or SOS signals from other NGO rescue boats in the vicinity.
During the past year Sea-Eye has rescued 5,568 people from acute distress at sea. On 7 March, Sea-Eye will continue its missions off the Libyan coast. “Mission 1” will start from Licata, Sicily, for new rescue operations.