Mission Lifeline und SEA-EYE 4

SEA-EYE 4 expected to reach Trapani on Sunday afternoon

On Saturday evening, the Italian Coast Guard informed the bridge of the SEA-EYE 4 that the Italian authorities had designated Trapani as the port of disembarkation for the more than 800 rescued people. The Foreign Office confirmed the assignment a few minutes later.

The SEA-EYE 4 is expected to reach the port of Trapani on Sunday afternoon. Until then, the rescued persons will spend the third night on board the ship. Some of them are already spending their fifth night on board. The weather deteriorated visibly in the past hours. The Italian coast guard allowed the SEA-EYE 4 to approach the coast earlier to find shelter from the wind and weather.

From Tuesday to Thursday, the ships SEA-EYE 4 of Sea-Eye e. V. and RISE ABOVE of Mission Lifeline e. V. saved more than 800 lives within 48 hours in 7 joint operations. Sea-Eye is supported on board by the Bonn-based organization German Doctors e. V. with an on-board doctor and financial support for hospital operations.

© Hermine Poschmann & Mission Lifeline

Our mission doctor Daniela Klein and the entire crew have done an unimaginable job in the last few days – over 800 rescued people have pushed not only the ship itself, but everyone on board to the limit. It is imperative that those rescued can receive medical care ashore. That is why we are incredibly relieved that the SEA-EYE 4 can now head for a safe port and that the people will be brought to safety after many days of uncertainty,” said Dr Harald Kischlat, Chairman of German Doctors e. V.

We are relieved and overjoyed that the difficult hours for our crew and the rescued people will end on Sunday and that these people will then finally be safe in Italy. We are appalled that Malta’s failure to provide assistance led to such an exceptional situation. The EU states must urgently admonish Malta to ensure that the Rescue Coordination Center in Valletta finally responds to emergency calls again and coordinates sea emergencies, regardless of the color of the skin or the origin of the people who are in distress at sea,” says Gorden Isler, Chairman of Sea-Eye e. V.

After days of uncertainty, it is finally clear: SEA-EYE 4 has been assigned a safe port. It is a matter of honour that we accompany them to Trapani and continue to do everything we can to support them in any way we can. We are happy that the many exhausted people will finally be allowed to arrive,” says Axel Steier, board member of Mission Lifeline e. V.

Mission Lifeline and SEA-EYE 4

More than 800 people have been waiting for a safe port for 2 days

On Saturday morning, Mission Lifeline e. V.’s RISE ABOVE delivered urgently needed relief supplies to the SEA-EYE 4 of Sea-Eye e. V. The rescue ship’s crew has been taking care of more than 800 rescued people on board since the night from Wednesday to Thursday. Food and blankets are scarce, so the delivery from the RISE ABOVE was urgently needed. The relief supplies include food and warm blankets.

There are still around 800 people on board the SEA-EYE 4, who were rescued jointly by Sea-Eye, Mission Lifeline and German Doctors within 48 hours. Well over 200 people are minors, including many children under the age of 10. Five women are pregnant. An exact count has not been possible so far, because the crew of 24 has been busy taking care of the rescued people on board. More than 200 people have had to be treated for various medical needs in the onboard hospital by German Doctors doctor Daniela Klein so far.

Mission Lifeline and SEA-EYE 4
© Hermine Poschmann & Mission Lifeline

“Our shipboard doctor reported to the Head of Mission that the hospital crew is currently treating around 25 people on a permanent basis. The causes include hypothermia, severe complaints of seasickness or high blood pressure. But there are also injuries that were inflicted on the survivors during the escape, which indicate torture. We must urgently point out that these people should be given medical treatment on land as soon as possible and therefore there must be no stand-off here,” says Dr Christine Winkelmann, Chairperson of German Doctors e. V.

“At present, we receive more support from the small Dresden-based sea rescue organization Mission Lifeline than from all EU states together! In order for the exceptional humanitarian situation on the SEA-EYE 4 to end, the more than 800 rescued people must be assigned a safe port without delay. Our crew is working at the limits of what is humanly possible. Negotiations on the distribution of the rescued can be conducted even while they are being cared for on land. The ship must be allowed to dock immediately to ensure the safety of all those rescued and the crew,” demands Gorden Isler, chairman of Sea-Eye e. V.

„In Germany, more than 200 cities and municipalities are ready to take in people. Time and again, discussions about the distribution of survivors and people seeking protection are only intensively conducted once they are on board a German rescue ship. Together, we therefore call on the current and future German government to be generous in taking in people seeking protection and to show more solidarity with Mediterranean countries like Italy and Greece,” said Axel Steier, Chairman of Mission Lifeline e. V.

The SEA-EYE 4 and the RISE ABOVE had rescued over 800 people in 7 rescue missions within 48 hours since Tuesday, 02.11.2021. Since Thursday, the SEA-EYE 4 has been looking for a safe port for the rescued people.

Sea rescue

SEA-EYE 4 with over 800 rescued people aboard in search of a port of safety

By Wednesday morning, the crews of the SEA-EYE 4 of Sea-Eye e. V. and German Doctors e. V. and the RISE ABOVE of Mission Lifeline e. V. had rescued a total of 397 people in 6 joint operations. But Thursday night saw another dramatic rescue of more than 400 people from a heavily overcrowded wooden boat.

AlarmPhone reported a maritime emergency Wednesday morning in the Maltese Search and Rescue Zone, where Malta is responsible for coordinating maritime emergencies. AlarmPhone also published the distress call on Twitter. AlarmPhone constantly kept informing the Maltese Rescue Coordination Center of new coordinates and requested coordination of the rescue. However, RCC Malta did not respond to any of the calls for assistance. The SEA-EYE 4 and the RISE ABOVE were about six hours away from the scene of the accident.

Sea rescue
© Hermine Poschmann & Mission Lifeline

Despite the great distance and the number of rescued people already on board the SEA-EYE 4, the head of missions of Sea-Eye and Mission Lifeline decided to proceed to the coordinates transmitted by AlarmPhone to the European rescue coordination centers, because no other help was to be expected for these people in acute danger to life.

The RISE ABOVE reached the two-level wooden boat first on Wednesday evening. By that time, there was already a leak in the boat and water was entering. Several people were in the water without life jackets and had to be rescued directly from the sea. The SEA-EYE 4 arrived shortly after. The crews of the rescue boats quickly provided the distressed people with life jackets, calmed them down and initially stabilized the dangerous situation. This was crucial because such a large wooden boat can easily capsize if unrest or even panic arises. Urgent medical emergencies were first evacuated to the SEA-EYE 4. One person was successfully resuscitated while still on the lifeboat on the way to SEA-EYE 4. The full evacuation of the wooden boat could not be completed until midnight.

There are now more than 800 people on the SEA-EYE 4, which has since set course for Lampedusa. The Italian island is only a few hours away from the scene of the accident and is thus the quickest port of safety to reach.

For the 24-member crew of the SEA-EYE 4, an unprecedented, highly stressful situation now arises. The rescue ship is dependent on the rapid assignment of a port of safety.

Sea rescue
© Hermine Poschmann & Mission Lifeline

Sea-Eye has already asked the rescue coordination center in Rome for the assignment of a safe port and the German Foreign Office for urgent assistance, as Malta still refuses any communication.

A state of emergency is now in effect on the SEA-EYE 4. Any delay by the authorities endangers the health and lives of the rescued people and our crew. It is shameful how Malta repeatedly shirks its responsibility and ignores distress calls,” says Gorden Isler, Chairman of Sea-Eye e. V.

The behavior of the European authorities has almost criminal features. The responsibilities are unambiguous and clearly regulated. Why the states do not adhere to it and knowingly abandon people in distress at sea can only be related to a lack of pressure of prosecution via the International Criminal Court. It would be easy to hold those responsible personally accountable!” says Axel Steier, board member and spokesman of MISSION LIFELINE e. V.

It is shocking how many rescues Sea-Eye and other organizations had to make in the last days. The situation on the ground is dramatic, as the rescue crews are reaching the edge of their capacities, which are no longer sufficient. We need help so that all people who are in distress at sea right now can be rescued. After all, this is our common moral responsibility,” said Dr. Christine Winkelmann, chairman of German Doctors, who are involved in the rescue operation through the ship’s doctor Daniela Klein.

Sea rescue

German rescue ships SEA-EYE 4 and RISE ABOVE involved in 5 rescue operations

The rescue ships SEA-EYE 4 from Sea-Eye e.V. and RISE ABOVE from Mission Lifeline e.V. received an emergency distress call from the AlarmPhone on Tuesday, November 2nd, 2021. The responsible authorities were informed at the same time. So far there has been no reaction from the authorities.

The smaller but faster RISE ABOVE was on scene first, provided the people with life jackets and stayed on site until the larger SEA-EYE 4 vessel arrived. The crew evacuated the people from the unseaworthy rubber boat, and brought them on board the SEA-EYE 4. During the first rescue, the rescue ships were informed of several further emergencies at sea. By Tuesday morning, the crews of both ships had rescued 325 persons from a total of 5 boats in distress. The cooperation between the two vessels with different characteristics turned out to be very effective. While the RISE ABOVE is twice as fast and can arrive on scene very quickly, the SEA-EYE 4 is able to take many people aboard and provide them with adequate medical care in the ship’s sick bay.

Sea rescue

This is made possible by the medical expertise of the Bonn-based organization German Doctors e.V., which is once again represented on the SEA-EYE 4 by on-board doctor Daniela Klein.

There are now 325 people on board the SEA-EYE 4. Among them are 152 children, 31 women and 142 men. Two of the women are pregnant. Aboard SEA-EYE 4, the rescued will now be offered an initial medical check-up, they will be tested for Covid-19 and provided with food and water.

“There are 5 people with serious injuries. Up to 10 people had to be treated longer in the hospital today. We will continue to work into the night and still have to provide medical care or monitor around 50 people. There are two pregnant women and a lot of children. Many of the rescued are very seasick, which is made worse by the fact that many people have inhaled fuel, causing terrible nausea and vomiting. There are many skin burns caused by the fuel mixed with seawater. Not to be forgotten are older wounds, which also have to be treated, and psychologically traumatized patients,” says Daniela Klein, doctor from German Doctors and currently aboard.

Sea rescue

“We have around 150 minors and several families with small children among those rescued. 11 children are approximately only three years old. If our ships had not been there in time, the lives of these people would have remained at the mercy of the sea. We are grateful that these families are now in the caring hands of our rescue crew,” says Gorden Isler, Chairman of Sea-Eye e.V.

“We are happy that we were able to save so many people in our first mission with our new ship together with the crew of the SEA-EYE 4. Combining the specific strengths and advantages of each of the two ships was incredibly valuable for these rescue operations,” says Axel Steier, Chairman of Mission Lifeline e.V.