Vice President of the Bundestag Claudia Roth calls it a great day for human rights
The civil sea rescue organization Sea-Eye will officially christen its new, fourth rescue ship to be called SEA-EYE 4 on February 28, 2021 at 11 am. The christening will take place in a very small circle and following strict corona-protocols, in the shipyard. The new ship is currently still being converted into a rescue ship.
The christening will be inaugurated by Bundestag Vice-President and Sea-Eye member Claudia Roth. Representatives of United4Rescue, the alliance for the support of civil sea rescue, which made the purchase and conversion of the rescue ship possible through substantial financial support will also be present on site.
Survivor names the ship SEA-EYE 4
The new ship’s patron, Alpha Jor Barry, is now 18 years old and is one of the first 17 people who were rescued by the ALAN KURDI vessel, just a few days after Christmas on December 29, 2018. Two years and two months later he stands at the side of Vice President of the Bundestag Claudia Roth to christen the fourth rescue ship of the Regensburg based civil sea rescue organization Sea-Eye.
“If the ALAN KURDI hadn’t found me back then, I wouldn’t be alive anymore. A storm was approaching that we would not have survived in our tiny wooden boat. I am very pleased that Sea-Eye is bringing a larger ship into operations to save even more people. I know what it means to be adrift in a small boat on high seas. My wish for anyone in this situation is that there be someone who comes to their rescue,” says Alpha Jor Barry, patron of SEA -EYE 4.
The christening will be inaugurated by Claudia Roth, who has been a Sea-Eye member for years and who has been supporting the NGO regularly with appeals for donations.
“The christening of the SEA-EYE 4 in times like these is an important sign of solidarity, humanity and practical advocacy for human rights. Wherever the European governments fail to meet their responsibility, it is the civil sea rescuers who uphold the fundamental values of the European Union and human rights,” says Claudia Roth, Vice President of the Bundestag and Sea-Eye member.
Michael Schwickart, deputy chairman of United4Rescue adds: “More than 700 organizations that our United4Rescue alliance brings together stand behind the SEA-EYE 4, as well as thousands of donors who refuse to stand idly by while people are drowning. We are also sending this second alliance ship to sea as a joint effort together with many different parties.”
The few selected guests and visitors had to present valid negative corona tests, since there is great concern about potential outbreaks that would bring the shipyard work to a standstill. The shipyard crew, who have been converting the ship into a well equipped rescue ship for months, follows the ceremony wearing a protective mask and adhering to minimum distance rules.
Patron Alpha Jor Barry and Sea-Eye
The ALAN KURDI, Sea-Eye’s third rescue ship, rescued the young man from distress at sea on December 29, 2018. Alpha Jor Barry had fled Libya, a country of civil war. Together with 16 other people he found himself in a small, unseaworthy boat in distress in the Mediterranean Sea, while a storm was brewing. The little wooden boat could never have reached a place of safety on its own.
Jan Ribbeck, deputy chairman, and Sophie Weidenhiller, now Sea-Eye’s spokeswoman, were part of the rescue team when Alpha was rescued. Both have kept in touch to this day and support Alpha in his new life in Europe. They decided to ask him, having been among the first who were rescued from the third Sea-Eye ship, to be the one to carry out the christening of the fourth rescue ship.
“Alpha and I stayed in contact beyond the rescue mission at the end of 2018. A friendship has developed that means a lot to me and I am delighted that he is now christening our fourth rescue ship,” says Jan Ribbeck, board member of Sea-Eye e. V. “Alpha is living proof of what we would lose if we gave up operations and civil sea rescue in the central Mediterranean came to a complete standstill,” adds Ribbeck.
Shipyard work on the SEA-EYE 4
The SEA-EYE 4 is the fourth and largest rescue ship that Sea-Eye has sent on a rescue mission so far. She is the second alliance ship that has largely been financed by the civil sea rescue alliance United4Rescue, which was initiated by the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD). Since October 2020, the SEA-EYE 4 has been converted into a rescue ship by hundreds of volunteers and is scheduled to start rescue operations in spring.
The corona pandemic is currently leading to delays due to delivery difficulties and additional costs for the joint project by Sea-Eye and United4Rescue. While United4Rescue is already collecting donations for the first mission of the alliance ship, Sea-Eye also is in need of more donations to complete the complex overhauling.
169 dead in the Mediterranean in 2021
“The fact that 169 people drowned in the central Mediterranean during this year already is a blatant failure of European humanitarian responsibility. The EU and the German federal government have an obligation to take an active role in protecting human rights and international law, instead of accepting further deaths.
There is still no European-funded state-sponsored civil sea rescue, there are still no safe passages and still no permanent and solidary distribution mechanism for rescued people in Europe. The constant harassment against sea rescue organizations and the criminalization of the rescuers are unbearable against this background. Anyone who protects and monitors human rights must be able to rely on the support of the Bundestag and the federal government.
My greatest respect and thanks go to the many committed people at sea who bravely and unwaveringly work every day to save human lives. Today is a great day for civil society, solidarity and human rights,” said Claudia Roth during the christening of SEA-EYE 4.
In 2021 alone, 169 people have already died while fleeing across the Mediterranean, according to the IOM. The EU member states continue to rely on isolation and thus create and enforce the deadliest border in the world. At the same time, the EU is investigating its own border protection agency FRONTEX for serious human rights violations.