All-weather lifeboat for the Mediterranean


Sea-Eye and United4Rescue send all-weather lifeboat NIS RANDERS into action as SEA-EYE 5

The former German Maritime Search and Rescue Service’s (DGzRS) all-weather lifeboat NIS RANDERS will save lives in the Mediterranean as the fourth United4Rescue ship. United4Rescue and Sea-Eye are responding to political pressure on civil sea rescue, and its newly- created hurdles, with the fast ship which has been specially designed for sea rescue. United4Rescue is launching a fundraising campaign today to finance the purchase.

Following the joint purchase of the SEA-EYE 4 in 2021, Sea-Eye e.V. and United4Rescue are sending another ship to the Mediterranean: the NIS RANDERS, an all-weather lifeboat formerly belonging to the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service (DGzRS). The ship will be overhauled in the coming weeks, christened SEA-EYE 5, and is due to embark on its first mission this summer. The all-weather lifeboat is a response to the ever-increasing hurdles on purely political grounds that are massively hindering civil sea rescue – hurdles such as the allocation of distant ports or the reform of the Ship Safety Ordinance.

“While Italy is making our work more difficult due to distant ports and restrictions, Germany is continuing to work on a reform of the Ship Safety Ordinance to restrict the use of small vessels and leisure craft for sea rescue. We must also expect difficulties in the future. That is why, together with our partner organisations, we are setting an example by sending an all-weather lifeboat whose suitability cannot be questioned in either Italy or Germany. The NIS RANDERS was built for a single purpose: to save human lives”, emphasises Gorden Isler, Chairman of Sea-Eye e.V.

In order to finance the purchase price of around 465,000 euros, the civil society alliance United4Rescue, initiated by the Evangelical Church of Germany (EKD), and supported by over 900 partners, has launched a fundraising campaign today. The SEA-EYE 5 will be the fourth United4Rescue ship born from this alliance to save lives in the Mediterranean.

“These are stormy times – also for civilian sea rescue. Our ships are facing strong political headwinds and constant harassment from the authorities. The all-weather lifeboat is our response to this. Nobody can seriously question the suitability of a German rescue ship”, explains Sandra Bils, board member of United4Rescue. “The new ship is specially designed for open sea rescue, can reach maritime emergencies particularly quickly, and is also cost-efficient. In politically difficult times, we are making it clear what we stand for as a social alliance: for humanity, and the legal and humanitarian duty to rescue people at sea.”

The conversion of the ship, the first missions, and part of the long-term financing are secured by two long-term loans from GLS Bank and a crowd campaign from its cooperation partner, GLS Crowd. As a long-standing partner organisation of Sea-Eye and United4Rescue, German Doctors e.V. is making it possible to equip and operate the sickbay.

About the ship:

The NIS RANDERS/SEA-EYE 5 is a fast and flexible rescue vessel. She was built in 1990 by the Schweers shipyard in Berne-Bardenfleth and belongs to the 23.3 metre class, a series of seven DGzRS lifeboats. The NIS RANDERS was in service off the coast of Maasholm in Schleswig-Holstein until 2018 and was operated by the DGzRS for a further two years without a fixed base. Most recently, the ship was privately owned.

Before its first deployment in the central Mediterranean, the SEA-EYE 5 will be overhauled and her technology modernised. For the rescue of people in distress at sea, a daughter boat is carried in a stern hull that can be automatically retracted and extended. The ship also has a towing hook, mobile rescue equipment, and extensive navigation and radio equipment.