Sea-Eye criticizes unequal treatment of people seeking protection

After the 476 refugees had spent a week in cramped quarters on the SEA-EYE 4, disembarkation began today, 22.06.2022, in Messina. Yesterday, the Italian Coast Guard had assigned Messina as a port of safety to the SEA-EYE 4.

The crew of the SEA-EYE 4 had rescued 494 fleeing people from various boats in distress during the previous week. While waiting for a port, 18 people had to be evacuated from the ship for medical reasons. The people had fled the Libyan civil war in unseaworthy boats. However, many had previously fled their countries of origin. The people come from 23 different countries of origin. Among them Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Mali or Syria.

There are also long-term armed conflicts or even wars in countries such as Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Libya, Mali or Syria. Currently, however, there are only safe passages to the EU for people fleeing Ukraine. People from all other countries of origin must continue to risk dying at European borders for the chance of safety and an asylum process. This is clearly structural racism. We need safe passages for all people seeking protection, no matter what the color of their skin or the tyrants they are fleeing,” says Gorden Isler, chairman of Sea-Eye e. V.

Medical Evacuation

Italian coast guard evacuates four people

The SEA-EYE 4, whose crew rescued 494* people from distress at sea during the week, arrived in Sicily on Friday morning, June 17. Due to the large number of people, it is difficult for the three-person medical team to provide adequate care to all persons. While the majority of people are in stable condition, there are many patients who require more comprehensive medical care. The Italian Coast Guard therefore evacuated four people from the ship at noon on Friday due to their health condition.

One patient who was evacuated is eight months pregnant, but has complications and can no longer feel her baby. She also has burns on her legs. Another person has a broken hand and needs an X-ray and further treatment. One person with epilepsy ran out of long-term medication. A fourth evacuated person is suffering from severe burns.

Overall, several patients have burns and some patients had inhaled fumes from fuel on the boats. Many patients are in physical discomfort as a result. Some people show signs of severe exhaustion and even trauma. Other patients were treated for hypothermia. After the evacuation of a pregnant woman, two pregnant women are now still on board. One woman is eight months pregnant and one woman is four months pregnant. Their condition is currently stable.

Medical Evacuation

With such a high number of vulnerable people on board, there is also a high demand for medical care, which our medical team cannot cover on its own in the long term. Thanks to our cooperation with the Bonn-based aid organization German Doctors, we are very well positioned for first aid and emergency situations – but not all further treatments and necessary examinations can be carried out in our onboard hospital. Currently, for example, we are treating many people with wounds and burns caused by contact with a salt-water fuel mixture in the boats, so that our dressing material is running low. To avoid further medical evacuations, all people on board need a port of safety and medical assistance as soon as possible,” said Gorden Isler, Chairman of Sea-Eye e. V.

Medical Evacuation

*Note: On June 15, the total number of rescued was reported as 492. A later count recorded 494 people. Due to today’s evacuation of four patients there are currently 490 rescued people on board SEA-EYE 4.


76 people rescued from sinking rubber boat

After the SEA-EYE 4 had already rescued 416 people in three rescues, the rescue ship was again notified of a maritime emergency on Wednesday evening, June 16, 2022. The organization Alarm Phone already reported to authorities that the boat was damaged in the first distress call, water was entering and people were calling for help. When the rescue ship reached the scene of the accident, there was hardly any air left in the tubes. With lights, the people tried to draw attention to themselves at night.

“The people were very lucky that the SEA-EYE 4 was less than three hours away at the time of the distress call and that they were still found in time during the night,” says Gorden Isler, chairman of Sea-Eye e. V.

The difficult rescue operation dragged on until midnight. Sea-Eye’s rescue boats brought 76 people onto the SEA-EYE 4.

Many of the people rescued during the night have chemical burns and therefore have to be treated in the SEA-EYE 4’s onboard hospital. This happens when fuel leaks from the rubber boats and mixes with seawater, because it creates a corrosive mixture that severely burns the skin. Those rescued also suffer from hypothermia, dehydration and severe exhaustion.


Many of the people rescued during the night have chemical burns and therefore have to be treated in the SEA-EYE 4’s onboard hospital. This happens when fuel leaks from the rubber boats and mixes with seawater, because it creates a corrosive mixture that severely burns the skin. Those rescued also suffer from hypothermia, dehydration and severe exhaustion.

The SEA-EYE 4 is now in search of a port of safety with 492 rescued people.

“The civilian aid organizations AlarmPhone and Sea-Eye prevented a serious disaster tonight. Again, there were no reactions from state actors. The so-called Libyan Coast Guard did not react at all and this is not an isolated case. This is exactly why there are so many survivors on the SEA-EYE 4 once again, for whom we urgently need a safe place to disembark now. According to international law, this place can only be in Europe,” says Isler.

The people rescued tonight must now come ashore quickly after receiving initial treatment on board in order to receive adequate further treatment. It is shocking that the rescue continues to depend on NGOs like us and also on the luck that sea rescuers are just nearby. The EU must finally work together to find a humane solution,” said Dr. Harald Kischlat, Chairman of German Doctors e. V.

The Bonn-based aid organization provides substantial support for the operation of the onboard hospital and regularly provides German Doctors for the missions to ensure initial medical care on the SEA EYE 4.


So-called Libyan Coast Guard obstructs rescue operations and abducts people back to Libya

The crew of the SEA-EYE 4 rescued 416 people from distress at sea with three missions in two days. Last Monday afternoon, June 13, the rescue ship came to the aid of 63 people, including 30 minors and a baby, when they were in distress in an rubber boat while fleeing across the Mediterranean Sea. Today, Wednesday morning, June 15, the crew arrived at a large, heavily overcrowded wooden boat. Many of the occupants were huddled below deck. The crew evacuated the wooden boat and safely brought all 290 people, including 19 minors, aboard the SEA-EYE 4. On Wednesday afternoon, the crew found another rubber boat and rescued 63 people, including 13 minors.


During the rescue on Wednesday morning, the so-called Libyan Coast Guard was present and observed the rescue operation. When it was completed, the so-called Libyan Coast Guard approached and towed away the wooden boat.

Also on Wednesday morning, the Spanish rescue ship AITA MARI arrived not far from the position of SEA-EYE 4 to a maritime emergency with over 100 people fleeing in an overcrowded rubber boat. However, the operation was disrupted by the so-called Libyan Coast Guard. 17 people who had jumped into the water were rescued by the crew of the AITA MARI. The people who remained on the rubber boat were forced onto their vessel by the so-called Libyan Coast Guard and abducted to Libya.


Today we had to observe once again how dangerously the so-called Libyan Coast Guard acts. Financed by EU states, the so-called Libyan Coast Guard abducts fleeing people to a country of civil war, where they are exposed to the most severe human rights violations. It is well known that there are links between the so-called Libyan Coast Guard and the traffickers. Against the background of all knowledge about the so-called Libyan Coast Guard, it is a crime against humanity to cooperate with such dangerous actors. Therefore, the EU does not deserve the Nobel Peace Prize, just as these militias don’t deserve the title “coast guard”. Any cooperation with the so-called Libyan Coast Guard must finally be stopped by the European side,” says Gorden Isler, chairman of Sea-Eye e. V.

On the Mediterranean Sea, in the shadow of the media coverage around the Ukraine war, no less dramatic scenes are taking place. People who jump into the water out of fear of a so-called Coast Guard and risk their lives on the run – politics must finally put an end to this! It is deeply irritating that we as the EU obviously continue to accept the possible death of children, women and men who flee across the Mediterranean from poverty and violence in their countries of origin,” said Harald Kischlat, Board German Doctors e. V.


There are now 416 people on board the SEA-EYE 4 for whom a safe place to disembark is needed. The crew and medical staff are taking care of the people.


Number of distress calls to AlarmPhone increases throughout Mediterranean region

The SEA-EYE 4 departed Burriana on Saturday (04.06.2022) for its third rescue mission in 2022. The alliance ship is expected to reach the operational area in the central Mediterranean Sea on Thursday evening. Since the ship became operational in May 2021, crews have saved more than 1,600 people from drowning.

From January to the end of May 2022, the organization AlarmPhone has already received 339 distress calls from people in acute danger of life at sea. In the same period in 2021, there were 286 distress calls. In 2020, there were 225. (Source: AlarmPhone)

More than 700 people have died in the Mediterranean this year, according to the IOM. In the summer months, particularly many people tried to escape the civil war in Libya in recent years. This is because there are significantly fewer periods of bad weather during these months.

Captain of SEA-EYE 4

We have to realize again that this is not a normal state. That every day people are calling for help, that people are drowning regularly and that there is no European state sea rescue program that brings the necessary equipment to end the dying in the Mediterranean. The EU states allow another deadly year just like that and also the new federal government remained so far inactive and lets the drowning continue. Actually, after so many months, everyone in Berlin should now have found their place and know what needs to be done,” says Gorden Isler, chairman of Sea-Eye e. V.