“If we do not find them, people will die at sea”

My secondment to Sea-Watch has now started. I have joined the new crew for the next SAR operation in the Mediterranean.

The unfortunate situation in which our borders find themselves is something that all Europeans should be aware of, to be conscious of what is happening at our doorstep, and not only on televisions. It is important to understand the reality of the situation. People fleeing war or looking for economic well-being do not deserve to die at sea, nobody does.

During my first days, I have understood how the situation was much more complex that I have imagined, or what any other person in the world would. Being the only ship in the vicinity wanting to assist surrounding 10 migrant boats containing around 1’500 people is as much a distress situation for the people in question, as for Sea-Watch 2. The ship is not prepared for such large interventions, not many vessels are.

However, letting them die at sea has never been an option. Sea-Watch NGO gives all what its crew and ship can hand to these migrants to give them at least a bit of dignity and hope in a situation where they were getting ready to die.

As our head of mission said on our first crew meeting: “If we don’t find them, people will die at sea”. His voice still resonates in my head, reminding me of the existing gap between our borders and the risk that people take when crossing the Mediterranean. No one deserves to be forgotten at sea, whatever the context.

During the following weeks, I will be reporting on my experience and thoughts through articles – probably written between two operations – on this blog.


Melanie Glodkiewicz,

Intern for Human Rights at Sea,

on secondment to Sea-Watch NGO

Photo credits: Joshua Krüger, Sea-Watch

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