Sea-Eye vessel awaiting scheduled maintenance works in Spanish shipyard

  • Maltese Army evacuates 78 rescued people
  • Situation in Libya out of control, according to UNHCR
  • Rescued people report traumatic experiences at sea
  • Sea-Eye collects donations for maintenance work

Last Saturday, the tenth crew of the German rescue ship ALAN KURDI saved a total of 78 lives from two unseaworthy boats. Four days later, the Maltese Army evacuated the rescued at sea. On Sunday, the Maltese authorities had still refused to disembark the rescued. Malta had declared that it is neither responsible nor has additional capacity to accommodate those rescued and seeking protection, and that there would be an agreement with other EU member states. Therefore, the ship was instructed to contact the nearest coastal state.

Despite the bad weather and overall dangerous flight conditions, a particularly large number of people are fleeing Libya these days. Aid organizations such as Sea-Eye have saved around 800 people in the past few days. The UNHCR said a week ago that the situation in Libya was “out of control” and that “minimal security standards for refugees” could no longer be guaranteed. The attempt to revive the European naval mission “Sophia” failed due to the governments of Austria and Italy.

Aboard the ALAN KURDI, 78 rescued people from 20 different countries of origin had to wait for a port of safety to be assigned to the ship. Some of the rescued reported spending three days on their journey and crossing the Bouri Oilfield. A cargo ship had crossed their course but simply ignored and avoided them. The rescued from the second boat reported to Sea-Eye’s human rights observer that they were terrified when several sharks circled their boat.

When head of mission Johanna Pohl informed the rescued people on Tuesday evening that they will be picked up by a Maltese military ship to be taken to Malta, many refugees expressed great fear of being brought back to Libya. It was only with great effort that the crew was able to calm the people down and convincingly convey that this is not the reason why Malta is not letting the ALAN KURDI go to port in Malta.

The ALAN KURDI has now set course for the Spanish port of Burriana. There, the 70-year-old rescue ship will be subjected to scheduled maintenance. The last time the ALAN KURDI was in dry dock was in May. Since then, the ship has completed seven other missions. Not a single mission was completed without one or several rescues.

“We will never forget these many, difficult hours. Now we have to collect up to € 120,000 for the maintenance and replacement of two generators. We hope that we can start the eleventh mission mid-March, ” said Gorden Isler – Chairman, Sea-Eye e. V.

The Regensburg sea rescuers will then be able to continue operations for the rest of the year.