Rescue Zone SEA-EYE 4

Mission is dedicated to deceased Sea-Eye board member Prof. Dr. med. Tilman Mischkowsky

On Friday evening, Aug. 27, 2021, the alliance ship SEA-EYE 4 departed for its second rescue mission to the central Mediterranean Sea. The rescue ship is urgently needed, as there have been numerous reports of sea emergencies in recent days. The Italian authorities had previously detained the ship for 10 weeks in the port of Palermo on flimsy grounds and demanded technical adjustments. With the support of the competent German authority, Ship Safety Department of BG Verkehr, the sea rescuers managed to adapt the SEA-EYE 4 in such a way that the Italian coast guard lifted the detention.

The second rescue mission of the SEA-EYE 4 will be supported by a doctor from German Doctors again.

Desperate people who take on the life-threatening flight across the Mediterranean Sea due to poverty, war and persecution must not be left to their fate and drown in front of the European external borders! As a German Doctors mission doctor and part of the medical team on board of the SEA-EYE 4, I would like to contribute a small part to saving people on the run and hope for a successful mission,” says Dr. Daniela Klein, German Doctors mission doctor and ship’s doctor on board the SEA-EYE 4.

Daniela von German Doctors

Since 2014, more than 20,000 people have lost their lives in the Mediterranean Sea during their flight. 1241 people died in the Mediterranean Sea in 2021 alone due to a lack of safe passages (as of 26.08.2021).

Obituary on the passing of Prof. Dr. med. Tilman Mischkowsky by Jan Ribbeck, vice chairman of Sea-Eye e. V. and longtime companion

Prof. Dr. Tilman Mischkowsky passed away on April 17, 2021. He was a man of the first hours at Sea-Eye e. V. He sawed plywood boards on the first rescue ship of Sea-Eye e. V. and built a small infirmary. When a lack of tools for medical aid occured, like it happened in Nepal for example, he made hospital beds and surgical equipment from scrap metal himself. He knocked rust off the ship’s hull of the SEA-EYE with a hammer so that the old fishing boat could later save people from drowning.

However, Tilman Mischkowsky was not only able to get things done at the grassroots level, but also to think and steer on a large scale. He headed a trauma surgery department for decades and made his mark on the trauma surgery community with his expertise and presence. As chairman at Sea-Eye e. V., he has used his organizational skills, networking ability, and authority to help shape the path to our largest rescue ship to date and the professional work at Sea-Eye e. V.

He would have had great joy and satisfaction in accompanying the renewed departure of the SEA-EYE 4 today. With this second rescue mission he would fight together with the crew and all Sea-Eye activists against the complacent European policy of exclusion of refugees and defend the human right to life. Sea-Eye dedicates the second rescue mission of the SEA-EYE 4, which started on August 27, 2021 from Sicily, to Tilman Mischkowsky.


More than 300,000 people support the demand

Due to the devastating situation in Afghanistan, Sea-Eye and over 300,000 people demand in an open letter to the German Chancellor Angela Merkel to establish safe passages for all people who are now forced to leave the country.

Dear Chancellor:

In deepest concern and dismay we turn to you regarding the humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan. We do this with over 300,000 supporters who have signed the petition “Create safe passages from Afghanistan” (

The situation in Afghanistan is devastating! Thousands of people fear for their lives. The situation in Kabul is extremely dangerous. People have already died at the airport and many still persist in fear of death in the capital, waiting to be evacuated. Meanwhile, the Taliban are searching houses and apartments for their victims and controlling the streets.

However, the violence doesn’t take place in the capital only. The Taliban are also using violence against the population in other parts of the country. The UN reports on ongoing, serious human rights violations. There have been mass executions of civilians and former members of the Afghan security forces. In some regions, girls are no longer allowed to go to school – contrary to the Taliban’s claims – and women’s freedom of movement is restricted. Shabnam Khan Dawran, one of the most important presenters on state television, was deposed by the Taliban. The Taliban force minors to take up arms and the Taliban kill demonstrators during peaceful protests, such as in the cities of Asadabad and Jalalabad.

More than 3 million people have been displaced within the country – more than 500,000 people this year alone. More than 18 million people live in hunger in Afghanistan. Women and girls, as well as human rights activists, women’s rights activists and journalists, are particularly at risk under Taliban rule. However, anyone who opposes the rule and teachings of the Taliban faces severe reprisals, torture and murder. Germany has the duty to take responsibility and must not forget these people.

We therefore call on you together with 300,000 supporters to establish humanitarian corridors from Afghanistan. Currently, it is extremely difficult for many people to leave Afghanistan because the roads and border crossings are controlled by the Taliban. Advocate for opening the borders for all people who need to leave the country now. Coordinate with neighboring countries to do so. Clarify what reception capacities neighboring countries have and establish safe passages to the European Union with your European partners and let the German Federal Republic set a good example. More than 250 municipalities and cities have declared their willingness to take in refugees in the “Safe Havens” alliance. Enable these cities to finally help and take in the people.

Also work on an international level to ensure that countries take in Afghans who are now forced to flee despite the 20-year military operation of the West. The world community can give all Afghans a new life. We are convinced that no Afghan leaves his or her home for no reason. It is the responsibility of Germany and its partners to give all Afghans the opportunity to flee and thus enable them to make a self-determined decision. If Afghans fear for their safety and their lives, safe passages must be open to them. Do not abandon the people in Afghanistan!

As a sea rescue organization, we have seen the suffering caused by the lack of safe passages on our rescue missions in the Mediterranean for years. Not all people want to live in the European Union. But all people want to live in safety. Safe passages enable them to flee in a self-determined and safe manner. Without safe passages, people are forced to cross deserts and board unseaworthy boats. Many people – including children and families – die on their flight. We appeal to you: do not allow this to become the fate of Afghans. Create safe passages from Afghanistan.

Yours sincerely,
Axel Pasligh, Gorden Isler, Joana Weinmann and Sophie Weidenhiller
– from Sea-Eye e. V.

Italian authorities finally lift detention after 3 months

After a three-month detention of the alliance ship SEA-EYE 4, the inspectors of the Italian coast guard released the SEA-EYE 4 from the so-called administrative detention on Wednesday evening, August 18, 2021.

The ship had saved a total of 408 lives, including 150 children, during its first mission in May and was subsequently detained in Palermo. As with other detentions of German rescue ships, the Italian authorities placed excessive requirements on the ship, found fault with the ship’s certification and declared its sewage and waste disposal capacities insufficient. In the meantime, the European Court of Justice is dealing with the question of whether the detentions are lawful. Sea-Eye, like the German authorities, assumes that the detentions are unlawful. However, it may take more than a year unless the ECJ issues a judgement.

Therefore, Sea-Eye decided not to tie up resources in another lawsuit and – in coordination with the German authorities – to voluntarily comply with the requested adjustments in order to continue saving lives as soon as possible. For weeks, Sea-Eye’s nautical officers, engineers and crew members worked closely with the responsible flag state authority Ship Safety Department of BG Verkehr in Hamburg to work out solutions for more than 20 exaggerated requirements.

“The commitment of the officials from Hamburg was essential for the release of the SEA-EYE 4. Otherwise, we would simply have remained at the mercy of Italy and would have had to sue again. We are therefore very grateful towards the Ship Safety Department of BG Verkehr!”, says Gorden Isler, Chairman of Sea-Eye e. V.

Now, the SEA-EYE 4 will be prepared for its second rescue mission immediately. Sea-Eye and United4Rescue intend to send their second civil alliance ship on its second mission without further delay.

“We very much hope that the SEA-EYE 4 can be deployed on a regular basis now. It cannot be the case that Rome comes up with new complaints for every inspection in order to keep the rescue ships from sailing, again and again. This simply costs human lives and has to stop”, says Michael Schwickart, Vice Chairman of the alliance for civilian sea rescue United4Rescue.

Together with its operational partners German Doctors and Refugee Rescue, Sea-Eye plans to return to carrying out search and rescue operations before the end of August.

“Of course we will continue to support the SEA-EYE 4 on its second mission with our medical expertise in the ship’s sick bay. For us, it is a human imperative to save and care for people who are fleeing. Nobody in distress should be left at sea “, said Dr. Christine Winkelmann, executive director of German Doctors.

Most recently, the policy of detaining rescue ships forced Sea-Eye to cease operations with the ALAN KURDI and hand the ship over to the Italian organization ResQ. Under the name RESQ PEOPLE, the Italians saved 166 lives last week. Sea-Eye was able to finance the high costs of the SEA-EYE 4’s detention with their campaign “A Gift For Horst”. The campaign – supported by Klaas Heufer-Umlauf, Joko Winterscheidt, Sophie Passmann, Ruth Moschner and Jan Delay – had around 8,000 people donate over €260,000. Sea-Eye received a further donation of €50,000 for the upcoming mission from the German Postcode Lottery, which uses a large part of its revenue for charitable and benevolent purposes.

“This broad support clearly shows how many people are standing up against the European policy of isolation and letting people drown. We are becoming more and more in numbers, we are becoming louder and we are definitely not giving up!”, Isler continues.