Italy continues illegitimate repression of German rescue ships

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Although the Italian government has withdrawn Salvini’s draconian punishments against sea rescue organisation, they have not been abolished.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 —