Rescue Ship ALAN KURDI Saves 78 Lives

On Saturday morning the German rescue ship ALAN KURDI of the Regensburg NGO Sea-Eye e. V. was informed of an emergency at sea. The organization Watch the Med – Alarmphone received an emergency call from the people on board the inflatable boat and forwarded it to the rescue ship and the responsible authorities.

After several hours the boat was found around 9:00 a.m. At that point, water was already entering the rubber dinghy, the shell of which was made of thin material, similar to truck tarpaulin. There are 8 women and 7 children among the 62 rescued, the youngest child is just six months old.

A short time after the rescue, a ship of the so-called Libyan coast guard was also on site and instructed the ALAN KURDI to leave the Libyan search and rescue zone.

“The so-called Libyan coast guard treats the search and rescue zone like territorial waters, repeatedly harasses civilian rescue workers and issues illegal instructions. They do not posess this authority at all and these militia, supported by the EU, are consciously accepting risking human lives,” says head of mission Johanna Pohl from aboard the ship.

Only a few minutes after the first rescue, ALAN KURDI received a call to render assistance from a cargo ship that had sighted a boat in distress. The ALAN KURDI reached the boat with 16 people on it in the early afternoon and proceeded to evacuate them from the unseaworthy boat. Three of the rescued people were severely dehydrated and had to receive medical treatment on board immediately.

Even though the allocation of a port of safety for rescue ships has improved in recent weeks, it is still too early to speak of a normalization of sea rescue according to international law standards.

“It is a legal obligation to bring people to a safe place as quickly as possible. Even if we see approaches of a distribution mechanism, the protection of people must be the top priority. The EU and all its member states must support Italy in this and act in solidarity in the European sense. The Mediterranean cannot be left unprotected,” says Sea-Eye spokesman Julian Pahlke.

After a long phase with bad weather and high seas, the ALAN KURDI set off on January 17th for the search and rescue area. The ship has been patrolling the central Mediterranean for the past few days. The German-Spanish crew consists of rescue workers from Sea-Eye and the Spanish aid organization Proem Aid.