Mayor of Palermo makes Sea-Eye crew honorary citizens

On Friday night Mayor Leoluca Orlando made the crew of the SEA-EYE 4 honorary citizens of the city of Palermo. Simultaneously the new rescue ship of the Regensburg sea rescuers was detained by two inspectors of the Italian coast guard.

The same technical reasons as with other civilian rescue ships previously, are now being used to prevent the SEA-EYE 4 from going on further missions.

“In essence, the argument is always the same: German rescue ships would regularly save too many people from drowning and do not have the right certification for such a humanitarian purpose,” says Gorden Isler, chairman of Sea-Eye e. V.

Honorary citizenship for the crew of the SEA-EYE 4 in Palermo

The Italian Coast Guard’s report states: “The large number of persons recovered, which exceeds the number allowed by the said certificate, poses a serious danger to the vessel and the crew”. In total, the inspectors cited 10 reasons for the detention during a 12-hour port state control. What seems especially grotesque is the fact that the captain of the SEA-EYE 4 is said to have violated Article 98 of the Convention on the Law of the Sea by rescuing too many people. Article 98, however, describes the explicit duty of flag states to oblige their captains to engage in rescue operations at sea.

“Our captain carried out the duty of sea rescue in an exemplary manner. He witnessed cases of distress at sea and carried out a safe rescue. The EU states could learn from that,” Isler continues.

By now, four rescue ships under the German flag have been arrested by Italy: the ALAN KURDI, the SEA-WATCH 3, the SEA-WATCH 4 and now the SEA-EYE 4 as well.

SEA-EYE 4: Lifebelt

The SEA-EYE 4 carried out its first rescue mission in May saving 408 lives, including 150 children. The rescued people were allowed to go ashore in Pozzallo, Sicily, on May 21 and 22, 2021, after the SEA-EYE 4 had spent several days searching for a port of safety. The Italian authorities obstructed and harassed the rescue ship and the rescued people in their search for a port of safety and during disembarkation. Read the full report.