Safety and Rescue, yes! Hot-spot and militarization, no!

We are impressed by the initiative of the mayor of Lampedusa and Linosa, Totò Martello, who wants to bring the islands into a „Journey for Peace“ – a visionary process for humanity, inviting and including also all civil actors at sea. 

We believe in Lampedusa as an “island that saves”, as a natural landing place for thousands of women, men and children crossing the sea, while migrating or fleeing from inhuman conditions. But we have to distinguish and to separate two important issues: rescuing people does not mean to keep humans in camps or hot-spots. As we can see around the treatment of refugees from Ukraine, it is a possible political decision to let people freely move all over Europe, where they have relatives and friends or other contacts that allow them to be welcomed and to live in the best way.  

We see how horrible the opposite situation can be, as on the Greek islands like Lesvos or Samos, where people on the move are blocked or even detained in huge camps for months or years, and where a situation of permanent crisis is politically and artificially created. The hot-spot system – the transformation of border islands into militarized zones of emergency – can never be accepted. And in Lampedusa it should be overcome by the „journey to peace“. 

As a concrete step in this direction, we support the demand of the mayor for the reconversion of quarantine ships into ferries. The Italian government has extended the use of quarantine ships until 30 April 2022. These ships have never had any valid sanitary reason to fight the pandemic. Rather, they have been used as floating hotspots. They increase the discrimination in treatment, even in relation to covid, for migrants rescued at sea or arrived on Italian coasts after long and dangerous crossings. The mayor’s proposal to re-use them as ferries to facilitate the rapid transfer of people to Sicily, and avoiding the reproduction of permanent emergency situations on the island, is crucial to combine the right to rescue with the right to quick relocation and dignified reception, even in the presence of large numbers. 

We need a welcoming Lampedusa and not a militarized island with a closed refugee camp. We need and demand for a peaceful landing and bridging point in the middle of the Central Mediterranean Sea. 

Thus, we call all human rights organizations and all migrant rights associations to support the event on 28th of April and to amplify with real and digital sirens the start of a „journey to peace“ by the municipality of Lampedusa and Linosa and their mayor.

Alarm Phone
Borderline Europe
EMERGENCY ong onlus
Louise Michel
Salvamento Maritimo Humanitario

Rescue ship SEA-EYE 4 sets out on next mission

The rescue ship SEA-EYE 4 set out on its second rescue mission this year on Friday afternoon, April 22, 2022. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 561 fleeing people have already died in 2022 in the Mediterranean Sea.

These days, politicians in Berlin would call it an unprecedented shame if 561 Ukrainian people had died at the borders of the European Union this year as they fled and sought protection. Governments would have to explain themselves, calls for resignations would be heard, there would be talk of total political failure. Safe passages are needed for all people in need of protection,” says Gorden Isler, chairman of Sea-Eye e. V.


EU member states would not equip and pay armed militias to prevent Ukrainians from fleeing Ukraine to the European Union. But this is exactly what happens every day to other people seeking protection, with the EU working with the so-called Libyan Coast Guard and even using the latest military technology to stop people from fleeing Libya or to coordinate returns back to Libya,” Isler continues.

On the occasion of the SEA-EYE 4’s sixth rescue mission in total, Sea-Eye and German Doctors explicitly call on the German government to treat all fleeing people equally and to demand the same from all other European member states. Human rights apply universally to all people, regardless of their national or social origin, skin color, religion or other attributes. This means that EU member states must immediately deploy a governmental sea rescue mission in the Mediterranean and end any cooperation with the so-called Libyan Coast Guard.


The 6th rescue mission of the rescue ship SEA-EYE 4 is repeatedly supported by the Bonn-based aid organization German Doctors e. V.

As in the past, we supported this upcoming mission with full conviction, both financially and in terms of personnel. We are pleased to be able to send the very experienced emergency physician and German Doctors mission physician Dr. Daniela Klein on the SEA-EYE 4 for the third time. She and all of us see it as our moral duty to help people in need – regardless of their origin or other differentiating characteristics. This is what our association does in countries of the global south, in Greece, Ukraine and also on the Mediterranean Sea, as long as it is necessary and as long as we receive the necessary support. Of course, we hope that politicians will put an end to the suffering in the Mediterranean as quickly as possible, just as in Ukraine and in all other places in the world that are overshadowed by suffering,” said Dr. Harald Kischlat, Chairman of German Doctors e. V.

Embarkation Training

The Bonn-based aid organization is responsible for the medical care of the refugees on the SEA-EYE 4. An emergency doctor is also on board the rescue ship regularly.


Sea rescuers criticize unequal treatment of refugees

The German rescue ship SEA-EYE 4 docked in Augusta on Wednesday afternoon (04/06/2022) and all 106 rescued people were allowed to go ashore. The SEA-EYE 4 arrived off Sicily on Saturday after Malta repeatedly refused to disembark the rescued and has been waiting for a safe port to be assigned ever since. For the SEA-EYE 4 it was the first mission of the year. The mission was complicated by bad weather conditions.

Harald Kischlat, M.D., board member of German Doctors e. V. says: “The refugees on board the SEA-EYE 4 stayed on boats that were not suitable for the high seas for many days. They’re hypothermic, seasick, traumatized. It is irresponsible and inhumane to deny these people access to a safe port for an unnecessarily long time.

German Doctors e. V. is responsible for the medical care of the refugees on the SEA-EYE 4 and provides substantial support to Sea-Eye in running the on-board infirmary, furthermore there‘s also always a medical doctor aboard the ship.


We must now quickly see a change in policy towards all people seeking protection,” says Gorden Isler, Chairman of Sea-Eye e. V. “Otherwise politicians will have serious problems answering to the accusation that has been voiced for years – one of systemic racism that is preventing the rescue of refugees from Africa and Asia – hence this would only be proven to be true once again.

Sea-Eye criticizes the unequal treatment of people fleeing: civilian rescue ships still have to wait for days at ports of disembarkation for those seeking protection from Africa or Asia and even have to expect rejections, as in the case of the SEA-EYE 4 off Malta. The EU member states still disagree on the distribution of a few thousand people. Maltese and Italian rescue coordination centers are still refusing to coordinate emergencies at sea that have occurred in the Libyan search and rescue zone, and European authorities are still cooperating with the so-called Libyan Coast Guard to prevent people from fleeing the civil war in Libya.


All people have the right to seek protection and asylum within the EU. Skin color, gender, origin, religion or political beliefs must not be a reason for European authorities and politicians to make a difference. Human rights are unequivocal in this respect,” emphasizes Isler.

So far in 2022, 467 people have lost their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean to find protection and freedom in Europe. The current practice that is supported by the EU member states to have people intercepted by the so-called Libyan coast guard and thus reduce the number of arrivals in Europe only endangers human lives instead of saving them.

The so-called Libyan Coast Guard failed again last week and 90 people drowned in a serious shipwreck off Libya. Only four people survived and were illegally taken back to Libya by the merchant ship ALEGRIA 1 with no chance of a fair asylum procedure, instead they face imprisonment, torture and death.


A Ukrainian captain of the merchant ship KARINA decided just a few days before, with reference to the Geneva Refugee Convention and the situation in Libya, to ask the SEA-EYE 4 for support instead of continuing his course to Benghazi.