ALAN KURDI in port

Sea-Eye asks the German Foreign Office for diplomatic support

  • ALAN KURDI detained in Olbia
  • Italy’s illegitimate repression of German sea rescue organisation
  • Sea-Eye asks German Foreign Office for help

On Friday evening, the Italian coast guard detained the ALAN KURDI for the second time this year after an eight-hour port state control. Spanish and German authorities had previously certified the ship as ready for operation after a several-week break in the shipyard.

Captain Joachim Ebeling speaks of “salami tactics” and goes on to say: “If you were really concerned about the safety of the people we rescued, you would not spend hours on end looking for ways to detain us at every opportunity.”

This detention puts all the other missions of this year at risk. Sea-Eye intends to file an immediate appeal against the detention.

It is unacceptable that Italy questions the German and Spanish authorities’ ability to judge the safety on board the ALAN KURDI. This is absurd and unmasking. The arrests of German rescue vessels are purely politically motivated,” says Gorden Isler, Chairman of Sea-Eye.

ALAN KURDI with German flag

Italy’s illegitimate repression of German sea rescue organisation

Although the Italian government has withdrawn Salvini’s draconian punishments against sea rescue organisation, they have not been abolished. Instead, Italy is currently stopping three German rescue ships and one Norwegian ship from continuing rescue operations. In Italy’s statement on the detention, the coast guard again complains that more people were on board than allowed.

The Italian coastguard described the purpose of the ALAN KURDI in June as a kind of “service for migrants at sea“, refused to coordinate the last maritime emergencies in September, and ignored the legal requirement for cooperation between rescue centres.

Italy makes it clear that it no longer regards the saved persons as persons rescued from distress at sea, but as passengers.”

— Gorden Isler —

What we see here is the official implementation of a right-wing populist narrative with concrete measures, aimed in particular at transporting people and simply ignoring the maritime emergency beforehand. This is particularly grotesque because until two years ago Italy herself was still rescuing people from such boats off Libya,” Isler continues.

Sea-Eye asks German Foreign Office for help

On Friday evening, Sea-Eye formally asked the German Foreign Office and the German Foreign Minister for support. After all, the detention of the ALAN KURDI, SEA-WATCH 3 and SEA-WATCH 4 not only openly calls into question the rights of German aid organisations. The rights of the flag state to equip its ships with safety certificates are also affected here. However, the protests of the German Ministry of Transport to the Italian colleagues have so far remained fruitless.

We are being held for political reasons. We are therefore asking the Foreign Office to try to find a diplomatic solution. After all, it is a matter of people’s survival,” says Isler.

According to the IOM, 675 people have drowned in the Mediterranean in 2020 so far. ALAN KURDI was able to save more than 300 lives this year.

We could have saved many more people. Without the blockades of the rescue ships, the number of victims would certainly have been lower,” continues Isler.

— Gorden Isler —
so-called Libyan coast guard

ALAN KURDI crew observed an illegal push-back

On September 19, the ALAN KURDI crew saw a speedboat approaching during their second rescue that day. It quickly became clear that it was the militias that operate under the name of the “Libyan Coast Guard” and force refugees back to Libya illegally and against their will.

The crew knew they had to hurry to evacuate the people. On board the ALAN KURDI, people would be better protected from the militia than on their small boat. Fortunately, there were only 24 people in the wooden boat in distress, and the crew were able to transfer them all to the ALAN KURDI swiftly, using their two rescue boats. Hence, protecting these people from being attacked by the militia and preventing them from being pushed-back to the civil war country.

Sea rescuers evacuate wooden boat

When the speedboat approached our rescue ship, it became clear to the crew that it was the so-called Libyan coast guard. From a distance they could see that there were a great number of people on the boat. The so-called Libyan coast guard’s boat had previously picked up at least one group of refugees in order to forcibly return them to Libya.

We demand: No push-backs to Libya!

According to international law, people rescued from distress at sea must be brought to a safe place. Only then is the rescue considered complete. Since there is civil war going on in Libya and people are being exploited, tortured, raped and murdered there, Libya is not a safe place.

Libya is not a safe place.

Amnesty reports forced disappearances

Amnesty International recently published a report that thousands of refugees who were picked up by the so-called Libyan Coast Guard and forced to return to Libya have disappeared without a trace.

The dehumanizing policy of the EU

Although the European Union is informed about the human rights situation in Libya, it has been funding the so-called Libyan Coast Guard for years, with the goal to forcibly intercept people seeking protection on their flight to Europe. This inhuman policy must stop immediately. We therefore demand that the European Union stop supporting the Libyan coast guard at once.

Libya is not a safe place – for anyone!

In the port of Olbia

Italian authorities seemed unprepared

The ALAN KURDI reached the port of Olbia in Sardinia on Friday morning (25.09.20). It was to last until Saturday noon at 13:15 until all rescued people were allowed to leave the rescue ship. The process of registering the people and undergoing a health check took considerably longer than usual.

Yesterday, our guests had to wait on deck of the ALAN KURDI for many hours in the cold, wind, and rain. 61 people even had to spend another night on board, as the Italian authorities suspended the registration process yesterday at about 20:30 and only started it again on Saturday morning.

Rescued with blanket

We can only guess why it took so long. But it seems that the Italian authorities were simply overwhelmed. This was not a friendly welcome for our guests, who had to wait freezing in blankets in the rain, but they endured it with great patience,“ says Kai, human rights observer on board the ALAN KURDI.

Preparations in Olbia

The crew has now also been tested for Covid-19. The results are still pending. The Italian authorities had already announced yesterday that the crew of the ALAN KURDI will undergo a 14-day quarantine in Olbia. The captain’s request to head for the port of call Marseille was rejected.

We have not received any support from any EU state in our work during this mission. But we are glad that we were able to move 133 people to a safe place. We wish these people all the best,“ said Gorden Isler, Chairman of Sea-Eye at the end of the mission.

Meanwhile, the crew is preparing the rescue ship for the next mission.

Guests aboard the ALAN KURDI

People freeze the whole day in cold and rain

As previously announced, the ALAN KURDI was allowed to enter the port of Olbia on Friday morning. But the Italian authorities refused to allow all of the rescued persons to disembark. All day long, the survivors kept waiting aboard ALAN KURDI, wrapped in blankets and freezing, while it was raining heavily and a cold wind was blowing over the harbor.

Freezing rescued persons with blankets in the rain

After the captain had insisted on a disembarkation for several hours, the authorities finally stated that the 125 rescued people could leave the ALAN KURDI and the first of them could disembark. At around 8:30 p.m., the Italian authorities stopped this process, although around half of the refugees were still on board the ship. The remaining people are supposed to stay on deck of the ALAN KURDI, sleeping outside in the cold and wind, until tomorrow morning.

Child with life belt

Italy shows its ugliest side here. On this ship, people who have fled a civil war country are waiting to be offered a warm place to sleep. Is that asking too much?, asks Gorden Isler, Chairman of Sea-Eye e. V.

The rescued people have been enduring this ordeal with great patience all day.

It has already been announced to the crew of the ALAN KURDI, that they must undergo a 14-day quarantine, as was previously mandated for other rescue ships. The captain’s request to be allowed to continue sailing to Marseille after disembarkation was declined.

Captain of ALAN KURDI
Joachim Ebeling, Captain of ALAN KURDI
Man with blanket

The French government appealed to Italy

ALAN KURDI anchors off Sardinia
Following the announcement by Sea-Eye on Tuesday morning that the ALAN KURDI will call at its Port of Call Marseille, the German rescue vessel has now been allocated an Italian port in Sardinia after all. Whether Arbatax can become the port of disembarkation for 125 rescued persons remains unclear, however. So far the ALAN KURDI is only allowed to anchor off Sardinia to seek protection from a storm.

The Italian maritime rescue coordination centre had previously refused to coordinate the operation. Meanwhile, the German Ministry of Transport made no visible effort to ask its Italian colleagues for coordination.

The German and Italian authorities now have to explain why they silently ducked away from responsibility for four whole days,” says Gorden Isler, chairman of Sea-Eye e. V.

The French government pressed for a solution on Wednesday evening and successfully appealed to the Italian government to respect humanitarian principles in the case of ALAN KURDI. On Wednesday midnight, the Italian rescue coordination centre contacted the captain of the ALAN KURDI to discuss “further coordination”. They suggested a port in Sardinia to the captain in order to find shelter from the weather for the time being.

Rescued family on ALAN KURDI

Of course we follow this suggestion. After all, we have been asking for the coordination of our case for five days,” Isler continues.

Situation on board the ALAN KURDI
In the meantime, the ALAN KURDI has reached the port of Arbatax and was instructed by the harbour master’s office to anchor there for the time being and to wait for further instructions. The situation on board the ALAN KURDI is described by human rights observer Kai Echelmeyer as stable. Even though some people need to be treated for seasickness, there are no serious problems or conflicts on board.

However, we still have more than 50 minors on board, including many unaccompanied and also small children,” says Echelmeyer.

Children playing on the ALAN KURDI

However, Sea-Eye’s repeated requests to disembark the particularly vulnerable persons immediately also remain unanswered.

EU Commission calls for coordination and rapid disembarkation in the Migration Pact
On Wednesday, the EU Commission presented its migration pact.

Search and rescue operations in emergency situations require coordination and rapid disembarkation to a safe place and respect for the fundamental rights of the persons rescued, in accordance with the obligations of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, including the principle of non-refoulement, and with customary and conventional international human rights law and the Law of the Sea,” says point 7 of the paper presented by the Commission.

Commissioner Ylva Johannson underlined the particular importance of civil sea rescue efforts and of supporting them.

But this is precisely what is not happening at present in the Central Mediterranean. The Commission is calling for legal norms that should be self-evident and should already be complied with,” said Isler.

The fact that Italy completely rejects the responsibility for a maritime emergency is a novelty for Sea-Eye.

It suggests that Italy no longer even classifies people rescued from distress as maritime emergencies,” says Isler.

In a conversation between the Italian coast guard and Sea-Eye representatives last June, an Italian coast guard lawyer spoke of a “service for migrants at sea” when describing the purpose of ALAN KURDI from the Italian coast guard’s point of view.

This shows that the Italian view has changed not only on the rescue vessels of the humanitarian organisations, but especially on the rescued people. If you think this through to the end, you come to the frightening conclusion that the coast guard has taken over the view of right-wing populist politicians and is now using the term ‘passengers’ in order to be able to detain the ships for technical reasons,” Isler continues.

ALAN KURDI in the Mediterranean

No Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre Assumes Responsibility

After the rescue of 133 people last Saturday (9/19/2020), no European maritime rescue coordination centre took over the coordinating role for the people rescued by the ALAN KURDI till Tuesday evening. Malta’s rescue coordination centre flat-out refused. The Italian rescue coordination centre referred to the German control centre in Bremen and from there the requests were forwarded to the German Ministry of Transport and the German Foreign Office.

On Tuesday morning, the Italian coast guard evacuated two women, one man, five children, the youngest child being only five months old. The communication for this evacuation took place exclusively verbally, via radio. Jan Ribbeck, head of operations and board member of Sea-Eye, criticizes the actions of the Italian and German authorities. On Tuesday evening, he wrote to the rescue coordination centre in Rome:

Evacuation at night

The responsible JRCC in the Libyan SAR zone has not made contact with the vessel ALAN KURDI via email, VHF or telephone before or after the rescue. All the other authorities closest to the SAR zone have so far not agreed on a jurisdiction or responsibility despite repeated attempts and objections. The common duty to coordinate emergencies at sea does not end in silence and inactivity of the authorities. It continues to apply until the operation is completed with the transfer of the rescued people to a safe port. Due to the inactivity of the Italian and German authorities the master must now consequently head for our port of call for the fastest possible and safe supply and evacuation of the rescued people. But in order to avoid a long and stressfull crossing, we must request for an immediate disembarkation for all of rescued people within the next hours.

Rescue ship ALAN KURDI sets course for France

If the rescue coordination centre in Tripoli is incapacitated and cannot assume its responsibility, all other European maritime rescue coordination centres are responsible and obliged to cooperate, because after all, human lives are at stake,“ says Gorden Isler, Chairman of Sea-Eye.

On Tuesday evening, the civil sea rescue organization informed the maritime rescue coordination centres of Italy, Malta, Germany and France, as well as the German Foreign Office, of their intentions and repeated their request for a safe port. However, none of them replied.

Therefore, the ALAN KURDI set course for her port of call, its original port of destination, where the ship was scheduled to dock in order to carry out the crew change and prepare for its next mission. The French port of Marseille was also chosen because the organization’s volunteers can travel there more easily from Germany and it has already served as a suitable base for the rescue ship OCEAN VIKING.

Rescued and crew member

Of course, the port of call can also be a place of safety. The inaction of the Italian and German authorities forces us to take this step,” Isler continues.

The choice of a more distant port is nothing new. Starting in 1979, Rupert Neudeck of Cap Anamur brought over 10,000 Vietnamese refugees, the so-called “boat people”, to safety this way.

Another blockade off Italy unacceptable

Most recently, the Italian authorities had blocked the Spanish rescue ship OPEN ARMS off Sicily until dozens of people jumped off board in desperation, trying to swim ashore themselves.

This is the kind of uncontrollable situation we don’t want to be brought into. We will not accept another blockade,” says Isler.

After consultation with the nautical crew, Isler considers the risks of the journey to be justifiable.

As we will pass many ports off Sardinia, off Corsica and off the south of France, we will be able to ask for support everywhere,” so Isler.

Recently, the French government has regularly been involved in the distribution of people rescued from distress at sea.

We do not know how the French government will react to our request for assistance. But we believe in the support of the French people and that they won’t let the ALAN KURDI be stranded off Marseille,” Isler continues.

Rescued children on board the ALAN KURDI

ALAN KURDI reached Lampedusa

Within 12 hours on Saturday the crew rescued 133 people from three different boats. First, 90 people were rescued from a rubber dinghy and 24 people from a small wooden boat at noon.

On neither of the boats there was a satellite telephone so that the people could never have called for help. They would not have arrived anywhere,“ said Kai, human rights observer on board the ALAN KURDI.

The ship’s watch spotted both vessels with binoculars.

Given the size of the search area, it’s pure luck. We wonder how many boats are disappearing unheard and unseen,“ said Kai.

Rescued family at night on the ALAN KURDI

After nightfall, the crew found another wooden boat with 19 people whose emergency call had been forwarded to the authorities and ALAN KURDI by AlarmPhone. 18 people are Libyan citizens. Neither the responsible Libyan authorities nor the rescue control centres in Rome or Valletta responded to the written enquiries of the captain of the Sea-Eye ship.

Many children were saved

62 of the rescued people state to be minors. There are several families and a pregnant woman on board. The youngest child is still a baby and is only five months old, according to the Libyan mother.

The families and the children are particularly vulnerable. The ALAN KURDI has now reached Lampedusa. There, we asked Italy for a safe port and requested that at least the families and the minors be evacuated immediately,” Gorden Isler states, Chairman of Sea-Eye.

Sea-Eye fears another blockade, as the Spanish rescue vessel OPEN ARMS was blocked for more than seven days with about 270 people.

The Italian authorities have become very reluctant to support civilian sea rescuers and prefer to keep our ships in their ports for weeks on end. They seem to have no scruples about putting the rescued people and crews in danger through blockades, only to then argue in a transparent way that the ships are not suitable for precisely these situations,” Isler continues.

The rescued describe reasons for escape

Human rights observer Kai spoke with the survivors on board the ALAN KURDI about their reasons for fleeing.

“There is war in my country. Sunna are being persecuted. I had to flee because they wanted to kill me.”

— 29-year-old man from Yemen —

“The government removed me from my home. Some milices catched me in Libya and I had to pay so that they don’t kill me. I had to flee to survive.”

— 28-year-old man from Egypt —

“The war in Libya destroyed my house and left my family and me without nothing. I spent all I had for a surgery which my son needed but he still needs urgent help which I cannot get in Libya. I never imagined to leave my country like this but there was no other way to protect my family.”

— 45-year-old man from Libya —

ALAN KURDI: Saved Child

Numerous emergencies at sea in international waters

  • ALAN KURDI crew rescues 114 people from two boats
  • So-called Libyan Coast Guard also involved in sea emergencies
  • Sea-Eye signs purchase agreement for rescue ship GHALIB KURDI

On Saturday afternoon, the ALAN KURDI crew rescued a total of 114 people from two different boats. At 11:45 a.m., the ship’s watch first sighted an overloaded rubber dinghy, carrying 90 people. Captain Joachim Ebeling immediately informed the German and Libyan authorities. The people on the rubber boat reported about other boats with people who had fled Libya.

ALAN KURDI: Rescue

Hence, immediately after the first rescue, a smaller, overcrowded fishing boat with 24 people calling for help was spotted as well. All of the 114 people, including eight women and eight children, are now aboard the ALAN KURDI. Four people are currently being cared for in the ship’s hospital ward, including a pregnant woman and a man with severe circulatory problems. One of the women and one man are being treated for lacerations.

For fear of being dragged back by Libyan militias, these people did not send a distress call for help. This was an enormous risk and they were extremely lucky that our ship’s watch spotted them with their binoculars,” says Gorden Isler, Chairman of Sea-Eye e. V.

So-called Libyan Coast Guard also involved in sea emergencies

Shortly after the second rescue operation, the so-called Libyan coast guard approached at high speed. The Libyan patrol boat was itself involved in a distress call at sea and was completely overloaded as a result. The Libyans did not contact the ALAN KURDI, took the empty fishing boat and turned towards Libya. Neither the Libyan authorities nor the European rescue coordination centers responded to the emergency calls from ALAN KURDI by phone or email.

In the meantime, all communication with aid organizations has ceased and nobody in Europe views themselves as responsible for these people anymore. They are being handed over to the Libyans or the sea. But they are now on a German ship and are finally being treated like humans again,” says Jan Ribbeck from Sea-Eye’s operations management team.

Sea-Eye signs purchase agreement for rescue ship GHALIB KURDI

On Thursday evening Sea-Eye signed the purchase contract for the new, larger rescue ship, which will be named GHALIB KURDI. The organization had already announced this on September 1st at a press conference in Regensburg. Which ship Sea-Eye has selected will remain confidential. It is solely a matter of risk management.

There are some modifications to be made. We are simply concerned about the safety of our volunteers and the safety of the previous owner,” says Isler.

When Sea-Eye took over the former German research vessel PROFESSOR ALBRECHT PENCK (today’s ALAN KURDI), they also did not disclose the name of the vessel until it could safely go on its first mission.

We will equip the ship as fast as possible and then present it together with our new cooperation partners, with whom we will then set off on joint missions,” Isler continues.

Rescue ship: ALAN KURDI

Sea-Eye condemns German conception of a European solution”

  • ALAN KURDI returns for another mission after four months
  • Spanish authorities support the view of the German authorities
  • Sea-Eye criticizes German engagement after the fire in Moria
  • Sea-Eye appeals to home port city of Hamburg

ALAN KURDI returns for another mission after four months

After a four months long forced break, the Sea-Eye rescue ship ALAN KURDI returns to sea for its next mission. It left the Spanish port of Burriana on Friday evening. After the last rescue of 150 people, Italian authorities had detained the ALAN KURDI in Palermo at the beginning of May, during the Corona-crisis. In August, Sea-Eye filed a lawsuit against this administrative act before the administrative court in Palermo, the verdict is still pending. The forced detention by the Italian authorities prevented a total of three of the ship’s planned missions. According to the IOM, 252 people drowned in the ALAN KURDI’s operational area during this period.

Spanish authorities support the view of the German authorities

Immediately after the detention, the responsible flag state authority in Germany confirmed that the ALAN KURDI is correctly equipped and certified according to its category. Sea-Eye used the forced break to make numerous technical improvements to the ship. The Spanish port state has now affirmed the position of the German flag state authority. After checking the technical equipment and certification by an extensive port state control, Spain granted the ALAN KURDI permission to cast off and informed the German and Italian authorities.

“There was no objection from Italy on Friday. But we have to expect discussions about sewage systems and yet another port state control by the Italian authorities”, said Gorden Isler, chairman of Sea-Eye e. V.

Sea-Eye criticizes German engagement after the fire in Moria

The ‘European solution’ is a fairy tale which implies that something good is still to come. We have been witnessing the actual, European solution for 5 years. 20,000 dead in the Mediterranean, 12,000 people seeking protection in Moria and 69 deportations on the 69th birthday of our Interior Minister, Horst Seehofer”, says Isler about the German federal government’s commitment to the fire disaster in the Moria refugee camp.

The Federal Minister of the Interior said in a session of the Bundestag on Friday that Germany was ready to evacuate up to 150 children from Lesbos. He called this measure i.a. “an act of Christian charity”. There is still no solution for the more than 12,000 homeless people seeking protection on Lesbos.

Sea-Eye appeals to home port city of Hamburg

Immediately after the fire in Moria, various federal states declared their willingness to evacuate people from Lesbos. North Rhine-Westphalia would be ready to evacuate a total of 1,000 people. In the meantime, various federal states are working on a Federal Council initiative that aims to enable the federal states themselves to help directly and to evacuate people. Berlin and Thuringia started the Federal Council initiative. Hamburg would now be the one to tip the scales. The expectations of Hamburg are high, since the politically Red and Green Hamburg has already declared itself a safe harbor.

Such a declaration increases the responsibility to seize the opportunity and to join this historic Federal Council initiative”, says Gorden Isler, Chairman of Sea-Eye.

In one week, the Federal Council initiative will be voted on in a plenary session of the Federal Council, under ITEM11. Immediately after the disaster, the Hamburg Senator of the Interior Andy Grote declared that Hamburg was ready to take people in. If the other senators of the Hamburg SPD follow him, the approval of the Green government partner should be nothing more than a matter of form.

Hamburg is the home port of several NGO rescue ships. Now we are appealing to the Hanseatic city itself not to ignore this humanitarian tipping point and to flip the switch in the Federal Council for a human rights-based policy”, Isler continues.

The GHALIB KURDI will be deployed before the end of this year

  • Fifth anniversary of the death of Alan, Ghalib and Rehanna Kurdi
  • New campaign ‘Ehrlich gesagt’ (‘Honestly speaking’)
  • Regensburg becomes home port of GHALIB KURDI

At a press conference in Regensburg on Tuesday morning, civil sea rescue organization Sea-Eye announced its plans to purchase a new rescue vessel and to deploy it before the end of this year. The new ship will be named GHALIB KURDI in memory of Alan Kurdi’s older brother, who also drowned five years ago. The family of the deceased children strongly support Sea-Eye’s cause and intends to become even more involved with Sea-Eye in the future.

“We could not save our own family. Let’s save the others,” Tima Kurdi stated at the opening of the press conference.

Since November 2019, the Italian Coast Guard has been entangling Sea-Eye in technical disputes. Italian officials have criticized the ship for not having sufficient sewage and waste disposal capacities on board. Even the fact that the competent German authorities strongly refuted this did not help. In August 2020, Sea-Eye had to file an urgent procedure lawsuit with the administrative court in Palermo. Sea-Eye expects a ruling in the coming weeks.

“Already in November 2019 it became clear to us that Italy will increasingly try to argue in this direction. Anticipating this, a project team has been working since February to find a larger ship that meets all requirements. Regardless of whether these are justified or not. We want to save people from drowning. The only way to do this is to send our ships to sea. That is why we need the GHALIB KURDI,” Gorden Isler states, Chairman of Sea-Eye.

In July, the general assembly of the civil sea rescue organization already gave the green light at a meeting in Erfurt and instructed the board to go ahead with the plans. In the meantime, Sea-Eye has selected a ship and agreed on a purchase price with a German shipowner. Sea-Eye’s donors and supporters have already ensured the financing of the purchase. Among other donors, the Catholic Church is also a big supporter of the project. Currently, Sea-Eye is drawing up the shipyard plan for equipping the ship and is preparing the contracts for the transfer of ownership. The ship will be presented to the public after the transfer of ownership. At the same time, Sea-Eye will introduce new partner organizations that will accompany Sea-Eye’s missions in the future.

“The increasing difficulties are likely to become tough for individual organizations to cope with alone. We are therefore talking to various experienced organizations about sharing tasks and responsibilities,” continues Isler.

Fifth anniversary of the death of Alan, Ghalib and Rehanna Kurdi

September 2nd 2020 marks the fifth anniversary of the death of Alan Kurdi. The picture of the drowned two-year-old boy gained sad notoriety. Meanwhile, hardly any attention was paid to the fact that the lifeless body of the two years older brother Ghalib was found a few hundred metres away next to the also drowned mother Rehanna. In an interview the father Abdullah Kurdi later quoted the last words of his son Ghalib: “Don’t be afraid father.”

Abdullah’s sister Tima Kurdi wrote down the family’ history. Her book “The Boy on the Beach” will be published in German bookstores in October. Since the family tragedy, she uses her voice to stand up for the rights of refugees and people seeking protection. Over the past five years, the EU member states have continued to focus on closing borders and deterrence. In recent years, some 20,000 more people have drowned in the Mediterranean. Armed Libyan militias now serve as bouncers for the EU and living conditions in the refugee camps on the Greek islands can only be described as inhumane and cruel.

“In the last five years, many people in Germany have committed themselves to helping refugees. Europe must now work to end the war in my home country. Europe must return to a human rights-based course and create humanitarian corridors,” Tima Kurdi states.

New campaign ‘Ehrlich gesagt’ – ‘Honestly speaking’

In order to raise funds for the ALAN KURDI and GHALIB KURDI missions, Sea-Eye is launching the ‘Ehrlich gesagt’ (‘Honestly speaking’) campaign on September 3rd. The concept comes from the Hamburg agency Grabarz & Partner and was presented at the press conference by Alexander Baron.

“We are not merely doing our job, we are also committed to society. And since we don’t go on a mission ourselves, we at least try to do everything we can to ensure that Sea-Eye can do it,” Baron states.

The campaign aims to convey its message in an emotional yet straight-forward and concise way, without relying on the typical use of pictures of sea rescuers or rescued people. The campaign will be billboarded in Regensburg, Munich, Berlin, and Cologne.

Home port Regensburg

Regensburg will be the home port of the new rescue ship, the same city where Sea-Eye e.V. was founded in October 2015 by Michael Buschheuer and friends. In addition, Regensburg was the first city in Bavaria to declare itself a “Safe Harbor” within the framework of the Seebrücke movement and the Potsdam Declaration.

“Many people from the African continent still set off in the direction of Europe via the sea because they hope to escape armed conflicts, terror, hunger and poverty. Rescue organizations such as Sea-Eye e.V., based in Regensburg, perform an important humanitarian task. I am very pleased that the GHALIB KURDI is the organization’s fourth ship to conduct rescue missions, and I am proud to call Regensburg its home port,” explains Regensburg’s Mayor Gertrud Maltz-Schwarzfischer, who also took part in the press conference.

In another symbolic gesture of support, the city agreed to the temporary renaming of two places. From September 3rd, the “Iron Bridge” will be named “Michael-Buschheuer-Bridge” for three months and the “Marc-Aurel-Ufer” will be renamed “Alan-and-Ghalib-Kurdi-Harbor”, after an idea of artist Dušan Zahoranský.