Two years after Sea-Eye’s foundation in 2015, the situation in the Mediterranean remained catastrophic. Still, thousands of children, women and men were fleeing across the Mediterranean from human rights violations. In 2014, Italy had stopped the rescue mission Mare Nostrum. Since then, the European Union denies its responsibility for the situation in the Mediterranean.
In order to help even more people in the most difficult hours of their lives and to establish a permanent presence in the operational area, the association bought the SEEFUCHS (built in 1959) in 2017. The former research vessel was identical in construction to our first rescue ship SEA-EYE.
After the transfer of the SEEFUCHS from Stralsund to Malta, our fire-red ship started its first rescue mission in May 2017. Until summer 2018, the crews of the SEEFUCHS were involved in numerous rescue missions and documented the human rights situation in the Mediterranean.
In the summer of 2018, the European Union had terminated all rescue operations in the Mediterranean. At the same time, many politicians actively fought against the civilian sea rescuers and criminalized their life-saving work. Under pressure from the then Italian Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini of the right-wing populist party “Lega Nord”, the Dutch flag was withdrawn from our two ships SEA-EYE and SEEFUCHS.
This political move aimed at preventing Sea-Eye’s life-saving, humanitarian operations, as both ships had previously been duly registered in the Royal Netherlands Register of Shipping. The European states attempted to reduce the number of arrivals of protection-seekers by further tightening their restrictive border policies. Thus, they accepted the deaths of thousands of people in the Mediterranean. This seriously disregarded and violated the human rights of refugees.
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