SEA-EYE 4 crew rescues 106 people on Boxing Day


Donations are needed for 9 planned missions in 2024

On the afternoon of Boxing Day (26th December 2023), the crew of the sea rescue ship SEA-EYE 4 rescued a total of 106 people from two different boats. Both boats were spotted by the ship’s crew itself. The distress cases occurred in the Maltese search and rescue zone, south of Lampedusa. The ship’s head of mission then informed the responsible authorities.

Among those rescued are 40 minors. The youngest of them are five and six years old and are accompanied by their parents. A 13-year-old boy from Guinea and a 14-year-old boy from Mali fled alone. The people on both boats stated that they had fled towards Europe via Tunisia on Tuesday night (26th December 2023). They had fled from Eritrea, Guinea, Cameroon, Mali, Gambia and Senegal, among others.

The Maltese Rescue Coordination Centre responsible did not respond. The Italian Rescue Coordination Centre assigned the SEA-EYE 4 to the Italian port of Brindisi to disembark the rescued people. The passage will take around three days. The SEA-EYE 4’s head of mission expects the ship to arrive in Brindisi on Friday afternoon.


The 5th mission of the year ends at the port of Brindisi. One mission was cancelled due to a detention by the Italian coastguard. In total, the SEA-EYE 4 was detained three times in 2023. All three detentions were based on the allegations of a violation of the so-called Piantedosi Law of February 2023. The joint crews of Sea-Eye e.V., German Doctors e.V. and Refugee Rescue nevertheless managed to save 504 lives. The three organisations will continue to work together in the coming year to save as many people as possible from drowning.

“Yesterday, while we were celebrating Christmas, 106 people were rescued from the Mediterranean by the crew of the SEA-EYE 4. As Nour Hanna, our volunteer doctor on board, told us, fortunately none of them were in a critical medical situation. The fact that so many families with young children choose this dangerous escape route makes us realise how important it is to continue our cooperation with Sea-Eye and Refugee Rescue. It guarantees medical care during sea rescues,” said Dr Harald Kischlat, Chairman of German Doctors.


Sea-Eye plans to carry out a total of 9 missions in the new year, as no major shipyard operations need to be taken into account. However, the donations are not yet sufficient to achieve this goal. So far, only the first two missions of the first quarter have been approved by the organisation’s executive board. Further support still needs to be found.

“We have a ship ready to go and a strong team on land and at sea. Now it’s just a matter of being able to finance all the missions in the forthcoming year. We are aware of the increasing political headwinds. However, we will not give up, we will keep relying on the solidarity of our supporters and together we will continue to fight for every single human life,” says Gorden Isler, Chairman of Sea-Eye e.V.