Italian judge ends 6 month detention

The detention of the rescue ship ALAN KURDI was heard before the regional administrative court of Sardinia in Cagliari on Wednesday morning. The Italian coast guard detained the ALAN KURDI on October 9, 2020 after its crew had saved 133 lives. Sea-Eye then filed an urgent procedure lawsuit against the disproportionate measure.

On Friday, the judge ruled that the ship must no longer be detained, as Sea-Eye suffers “severe financial damage from the detention” and “further damage of a complex nature” can result if Sea-Eye is not allowed to transfer the ship to to Spain to undergo its scheduled biyearly inspection and maintenance works in a timely manner. The trial date in the main matter, where a decision will be made on the legality of the detention, was set for November 3, 2021.

During the negotiation, a representative of the Italian Ministry of Transport stated that the flag state of Germany would not live up to its responsibility if stricter rules were not laid down for German ships that are used to rescue people in the central Mediterranean. Sea-Eye’s lawyers, however, submitted that both the German and the Spanish competent authorities, as well as an internationally recognized ship classification society, had fully certified the required ship safety of ALAN KURDI.

The detention of rescue ships is irresponsible because it is exclusively politically motivated. With its accusation to the Federal Ministry of Transport, the Italian Ministry of Transport made it clear what it was really about. When it comes to detaining German rescue ships, the main aim is to impose a new rescue ship class on the Federal Ministry of Transport because it is assumed that it will be difficult for us to meet the requirements,“ says Gorden Isler, Chairman of Sea-Eye.

The detention of the ALAN KURDI, the SEA-WATCH 3 and the SEA-WATCH 4 and the discussions about ship classes are measures taken by Italy to systematically suspend civil sea rescue. In 2018, sea rescue in the Mediterranean was stalled for months when Italy sparked a discussion about the flags of the rescue ships. The ships SEA-EYE, SEEFUCHS and LIFELINE could no longer be used. After the sea rescue organizations had adapted their ships in this regard, Italy is now attacking the ship classes of the rescue ships.

The discussions about technical equipment and certificates only serve the purpose of distracting from the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean, which the EU member states have been maintaining together,” continued Isler.

The ALAN KURDI is now being prepared for its transfer to Spain in order to carry out planned maintenance work. The long legal battle to free the ALAN KURDI was a major financial challenge for Sea-Eye. The upcoming shipyard work will also require additional financial resources, for which Sea-Eye is dependent on donations.