Rescue ship: ALAN KURDI

Sea-Eye condemns German conception of a European solution”

  • ALAN KURDI returns for another mission after four months
  • Spanish authorities support the view of the German authorities
  • Sea-Eye criticizes German engagement after the fire in Moria
  • Sea-Eye appeals to home port city of Hamburg

ALAN KURDI returns for another mission after four months

After a four months long forced break, the Sea-Eye rescue ship ALAN KURDI returns to sea for its next mission. It left the Spanish port of Burriana on Friday evening. After the last rescue of 150 people, Italian authorities had detained the ALAN KURDI in Palermo at the beginning of May, during the Corona-crisis. In August, Sea-Eye filed a lawsuit against this administrative act before the administrative court in Palermo, the verdict is still pending. The forced detention by the Italian authorities prevented a total of three of the ship’s planned missions. According to the IOM, 252 people drowned in the ALAN KURDI’s operational area during this period.

Spanish authorities support the view of the German authorities

Immediately after the detention, the responsible flag state authority in Germany confirmed that the ALAN KURDI is correctly equipped and certified according to its category. Sea-Eye used the forced break to make numerous technical improvements to the ship. The Spanish port state has now affirmed the position of the German flag state authority. After checking the technical equipment and certification by an extensive port state control, Spain granted the ALAN KURDI permission to cast off and informed the German and Italian authorities.

“There was no objection from Italy on Friday. But we have to expect discussions about sewage systems and yet another port state control by the Italian authorities”, said Gorden Isler, chairman of Sea-Eye e. V.

Sea-Eye criticizes German engagement after the fire in Moria

The ‘European solution’ is a fairy tale which implies that something good is still to come. We have been witnessing the actual, European solution for 5 years. 20,000 dead in the Mediterranean, 12,000 people seeking protection in Moria and 69 deportations on the 69th birthday of our Interior Minister, Horst Seehofer”, says Isler about the German federal government’s commitment to the fire disaster in the Moria refugee camp.

The Federal Minister of the Interior said in a session of the Bundestag on Friday that Germany was ready to evacuate up to 150 children from Lesbos. He called this measure i.a. “an act of Christian charity”. There is still no solution for the more than 12,000 homeless people seeking protection on Lesbos.

Sea-Eye appeals to home port city of Hamburg

Immediately after the fire in Moria, various federal states declared their willingness to evacuate people from Lesbos. North Rhine-Westphalia would be ready to evacuate a total of 1,000 people. In the meantime, various federal states are working on a Federal Council initiative that aims to enable the federal states themselves to help directly and to evacuate people. Berlin and Thuringia started the Federal Council initiative. Hamburg would now be the one to tip the scales. The expectations of Hamburg are high, since the politically Red and Green Hamburg has already declared itself a safe harbor.

Such a declaration increases the responsibility to seize the opportunity and to join this historic Federal Council initiative”, says Gorden Isler, Chairman of Sea-Eye.

In one week, the Federal Council initiative will be voted on in a plenary session of the Federal Council, under ITEM11. Immediately after the disaster, the Hamburg Senator of the Interior Andy Grote declared that Hamburg was ready to take people in. If the other senators of the Hamburg SPD follow him, the approval of the Green government partner should be nothing more than a matter of form.

Hamburg is the home port of several NGO rescue ships. Now we are appealing to the Hanseatic city itself not to ignore this humanitarian tipping point and to flip the switch in the Federal Council for a human rights-based policy”, Isler continues.

The GHALIB KURDI will be deployed before the end of this year

  • Fifth anniversary of the death of Alan, Ghalib and Rehanna Kurdi
  • New campaign ‘Ehrlich gesagt’ (‘Honestly speaking’)
  • Regensburg becomes home port of GHALIB KURDI

At a press conference in Regensburg on Tuesday morning, civil sea rescue organization Sea-Eye announced its plans to purchase a new rescue vessel and to deploy it before the end of this year. The new ship will be named GHALIB KURDI in memory of Alan Kurdi’s older brother, who also drowned five years ago. The family of the deceased children strongly support Sea-Eye’s cause and intends to become even more involved with Sea-Eye in the future.

“We could not save our own family. Let’s save the others,” Tima Kurdi stated at the opening of the press conference.

Since November 2019, the Italian Coast Guard has been entangling Sea-Eye in technical disputes. Italian officials have criticized the ship for not having sufficient sewage and waste disposal capacities on board. Even the fact that the competent German authorities strongly refuted this did not help. In August 2020, Sea-Eye had to file an urgent procedure lawsuit with the administrative court in Palermo. Sea-Eye expects a ruling in the coming weeks.

“Already in November 2019 it became clear to us that Italy will increasingly try to argue in this direction. Anticipating this, a project team has been working since February to find a larger ship that meets all requirements. Regardless of whether these are justified or not. We want to save people from drowning. The only way to do this is to send our ships to sea. That is why we need the GHALIB KURDI,” Gorden Isler states, Chairman of Sea-Eye.

In July, the general assembly of the civil sea rescue organization already gave the green light at a meeting in Erfurt and instructed the board to go ahead with the plans. In the meantime, Sea-Eye has selected a ship and agreed on a purchase price with a German shipowner. Sea-Eye’s donors and supporters have already ensured the financing of the purchase. Among other donors, the Catholic Church is also a big supporter of the project. Currently, Sea-Eye is drawing up the shipyard plan for equipping the ship and is preparing the contracts for the transfer of ownership. The ship will be presented to the public after the transfer of ownership. At the same time, Sea-Eye will introduce new partner organizations that will accompany Sea-Eye’s missions in the future.

“The increasing difficulties are likely to become tough for individual organizations to cope with alone. We are therefore talking to various experienced organizations about sharing tasks and responsibilities,” continues Isler.

Fifth anniversary of the death of Alan, Ghalib and Rehanna Kurdi

September 2nd 2020 marks the fifth anniversary of the death of Alan Kurdi. The picture of the drowned two-year-old boy gained sad notoriety. Meanwhile, hardly any attention was paid to the fact that the lifeless body of the two years older brother Ghalib was found a few hundred metres away next to the also drowned mother Rehanna. In an interview the father Abdullah Kurdi later quoted the last words of his son Ghalib: “Don’t be afraid father.”

Abdullah’s sister Tima Kurdi wrote down the family’ history. Her book “The Boy on the Beach” will be published in German bookstores in October. Since the family tragedy, she uses her voice to stand up for the rights of refugees and people seeking protection. Over the past five years, the EU member states have continued to focus on closing borders and deterrence. In recent years, some 20,000 more people have drowned in the Mediterranean. Armed Libyan militias now serve as bouncers for the EU and living conditions in the refugee camps on the Greek islands can only be described as inhumane and cruel.

“In the last five years, many people in Germany have committed themselves to helping refugees. Europe must now work to end the war in my home country. Europe must return to a human rights-based course and create humanitarian corridors,” Tima Kurdi states.

New campaign ‘Ehrlich gesagt’ – ‘Honestly speaking’

In order to raise funds for the ALAN KURDI and GHALIB KURDI missions, Sea-Eye is launching the ‘Ehrlich gesagt’ (‘Honestly speaking’) campaign on September 3rd. The concept comes from the Hamburg agency Grabarz & Partner and was presented at the press conference by Alexander Baron.

“We are not merely doing our job, we are also committed to society. And since we don’t go on a mission ourselves, we at least try to do everything we can to ensure that Sea-Eye can do it,” Baron states.

The campaign aims to convey its message in an emotional yet straight-forward and concise way, without relying on the typical use of pictures of sea rescuers or rescued people. The campaign will be billboarded in Regensburg, Munich, Berlin, and Cologne.

Home port Regensburg

Regensburg will be the home port of the new rescue ship, the same city where Sea-Eye e.V. was founded in October 2015 by Michael Buschheuer and friends. In addition, Regensburg was the first city in Bavaria to declare itself a “Safe Harbor” within the framework of the Seebrücke movement and the Potsdam Declaration.

“Many people from the African continent still set off in the direction of Europe via the sea because they hope to escape armed conflicts, terror, hunger and poverty. Rescue organizations such as Sea-Eye e.V., based in Regensburg, perform an important humanitarian task. I am very pleased that the GHALIB KURDI is the organization’s fourth ship to conduct rescue missions, and I am proud to call Regensburg its home port,” explains Regensburg’s Mayor Gertrud Maltz-Schwarzfischer, who also took part in the press conference.

In another symbolic gesture of support, the city agreed to the temporary renaming of two places. From September 3rd, the “Iron Bridge” will be named “Michael-Buschheuer-Bridge” for three months and the “Marc-Aurel-Ufer” will be renamed “Alan-and-Ghalib-Kurdi-Harbor”, after an idea of artist Dušan Zahoranský.