Our ship, the MS Sea-Watch, is now, after rescuing 587 people in 6 separate rescue missions on the way back from its second operation, and arrived in Lampedusa yesterday evening. Our crew being on a constant rescue mission for six days shows that we are exactly what is needed here.
Not a single day passed out here without a rescue mission, we have in the meantime used up all our life rafts and have to return to Lampedusa to take new rescue devices on board “ says Sea-Watch skipper Ingo Werth. We would like to thank very much the organizations MSF (Doctors Without Borders) and MOAS, who also do excellent work here, for the fantastic cooperation. We would also like to thank the Italian coast guard for the great cooperation – but we do ask ourselves what the ships of the EU mission Triton and EUNAVFORMED are actually doing. We have not seen them here.
During the operation of the MS Sea-Watch, which has already been going on since 05 July 2015, the MS Sea- Watch was sometimes the only ship available for sea rescue in the area of the Libyan coast as the ships of the MSF and MOAS also have to keep returning to land to drop of the rescued people.
“But we cannot be everywhere at once”, explains Skipper Ingo Werth.
“In the case of one sinking rubber dinghy we literally arrived in the last second and could save 116 people on two of our life rafts. One seriously injured person was given first aid by our doctors on board the MS Sea- Watch. If we hadn’t found the dinghy just in time, the majority of those people would most likely have drowned.”
“The majority of the boats we found did not have a satellite phone on board and so could not send distress alerts. Those people can only be rescued when someone is actively looking for them “says skipper Ingo Werth. The Bourbon Argos of the MSF alone twice took rescued refugees from us on board and took them back to land whilst we continued our mission. We would like to thank the MSF for their support and the great cooperation, but at the same time also hold the EU responsible” says Harald Höppner.
“We are glad that we could save almost 600 human lives during our second operation. However, the operation of the MS Sea-Watch once again shows how desperate the situation is on the Mediterranean Sea. Legal ways to get into the EU finally have to be opened for those people, everything else will not solve the situation in this area in the long term. As long as those people are still forced onto the boats,there will always be tragedies. However, as an immediate emergency measure, we strongly request the European Union to take over their responsibility in the sea rescue and finally send more ships into the sea near Libya which actually run rescue missions themselves.”
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