Malta is violating its duty to rescue boats in distress
Since the SEA-EYE 4 arrived in the Maltese search and rescue zone on Thursday, December 16, 2021, numerous reports of boats in distress have reached the rescue ship. In total, the crew of the SEA-EYE 4 rescued a total of 223 people in four rescue operations. Among them are 29 women, 7 of whom are pregnant, and 8 children. The crew is currently looking for another boat in distress.
Although further boats carrying numerous people in acute distress have been reported at sea since yesterday, Malta has once again failed to fulfill its obligation to coordinate distress cases at sea and rescue these people. Civil sea rescue organizations are currently the only European forces looking for people and trying to bring them to safety. Since the weather is expected to deteriorate significantly soon, the chances of survival for people who are still at sea decrease significantly.
“On the one hand, I am grateful that the SEA-EYE 4 was able to save many people once again. At the same time, it is hard to bear that we have to assume that no help at all came for some of the boats in danger. Civil sea rescue capacities are important, but also limited. The cold-blooded ignorance of the EU costs us human lives – the sea-grave is growing, even if we constantly fight against it. The people who drowned in agony simply wanted a life in safety to which they were entitled – and we deny it to them. But what right do we have to elevate ourselves above these people and their fate?” says Sophie Weidenhiller, spokeswoman for Sea-Eye e. V.
The survivors on board the SEA-EYE 4 are currently being cared for and medically treated by the crew. One child has a broken arm and another has a broken finger. Two pregnant women have stomach pains and several people have had to be treated for chemical burns and hypothermia.
“It is shocking how many people flee across the Mediterranean in overcrowded, completely unsuitable boats, regardless of the dangers. And it is deeply inhuman that the EU continues to leave the rescue of these desperate people to NGOs like us. Shortly before the turn of the year, we hope that politics will finally change in 2022 and that the dying at the deadliest sea border will come to an end,” said Dr. Christine Winkelmann, Head of German Doctors e. V. The aid organization supports the Sea-Eye rescue operations financially and with medical staff and expertise.
“It is wonderful news that our alliance ship SEA-EYE 4 was already able to rescue 223 people during this mission. And a message that fits Christmas! As United4Rescue, we are particularly pleased that the SKYBIRD aircraft discovered the first two emergencies at sea – because United4Rescue only recently provided financial assistance to put this new reconnaissance aircraft into operation. We very much hope that the crew of the SEA-EYE 4 will save even more lives on this Christmas mission,” says Liza Pflaum, board member of United4Rescue.