“Sea-Eye” has rescued more than 5,500 refugees in the Mediterranean.

Regensburg sea rescue organisation wants to start the coming year with an additional boat.

The Regensburg sea rescue organisation “Sea-Eye e.V.” has rescued thousands of refugees in the Mediterranean. Now crew members are preparing for another year – which might see a second boat.

The private rescue boat “Sea-Eye” has rescued more than 5,500 refugees in the Mediterranean this year. “Since April the re-equipped fishing cutter has undertaken 14 two-week missions off the Libyan coast,” said Hans-Peter Buschheuer of the Regensburg sea rescue organisation. The boat is now being overhauled in Malta and will be back in service next March. “The humanitarian situation in the Mediterranean has not at all improved. Therefore we decided to carry on,” Buschheuer underlined.

According to Buschheuer, the organisation is planning to buy a second boat so as to rescue even more refugees from distress. “We expect that in 2017, even more people will venture on this perilous escape across the Mediterranean.”

In 2015, Regensburg entrepreneur Michael Buschheuer bought a fishing cutter that is 60 years old and a bit over 26 metres long. He had it re-equipped for sea rescue in the Tamsen Maritim shipyard in Rostock, Germany. In April the Sea-Eye left for its first mission in the Mediterranean, carrying about 700 life vests; life rafts for 400 people, as well as water and provisions.

The project cost about € 250,000, which are financed through donations. “The highest cost factor is the very high diesel consumption,” Buschheuer explained. Costs for medical equipment and harbour dues add to this. The eight-member crews go on mission for 14 days each. They are composed of volunteers who sacrifice their leave days for the rescue mission.

“Almost 500 volunteers from all over Germany have registered. However, this year we could only take on about 100 helpers,” Buschheuer regretted. But if the second rescue boat works out, this potential could finally be used.

On Saturday 11 November, the volunteers already took the first step towards preparing for sea rescue missions in the Mediterranean in the coming year. “At the annual meeting of activists and members, the newcomers got introduced to the activities and they had the opportunity to meet potential crew members,” Buschheuer said.

Source: Der neue Tag, Amberg, Germany