Action - 11 July 2019

en - The example of rescue NGOs in the Mediterranean

Sea-Watch and Captain Carola Rackete Enforce Human Rights Where EU Fails

Neither the EU-Commission nor any European government brought about the solution for the disembarkation of the remaining 40 survivors aboard Sea-Watch 3. In the end it was captain Carola Rackete who was both forced and willing to take responsibility and who brought the people to safety against all adversities. Without permission she entered Italian waters and later the port of Lampedusa. She enforced the rights of the rescued people to be disembarked to a place of safety.

While the Italian interior minister, Matteo Salvini, cowardly escapes prosecution for kidnapping in the case of Diciotti and Sea-Watch 3, Sea-Watch is ready to take full responsibility for enforcing human rights, the law of the sea and the Italian constitution. We will continue to save lives at sea. We will not give up and defend solidarity against every inhumane and racist policy from both single politicians and EU institutions.

At 01:30 this night – after 16 days of political games on the backs of rescuees and crew on the ship – the Sea-Watch 3 entered the port of Lampedusa without permission to disembark the remaining 40 survivors. The ship had declared entered Italian territorial waters in a state of necessity, almost 60 hours before. However, no authority had come to assist and no disembarkation of the rescued people aboard had been provided. “We are not relieved, we are angry,” says captain Carola Rackete, “this disembarkation should have taken place more than two weeks ago and it should have been coordinated instead of hindered by the authorities. European governments in their air conditioned offices have gambled with these people’s lives for more than 16 days. This is inhumane, unacceptable and probably against every single constitution those people claim to represent. It is a disgrace to both words, Europe and union, how everyone blamed the others for the blockade while not a single European institution was willing to assume responsibility, until I was forced to do so myself.” 

Furthermore the captain was put under investigation for aiding illegal immigration and illegal entry into Italy’s territorial waters. “We are proud of our captain, she did exactly the right thing. She followed the law of the sea and brought people to safety. Instead of her, Matteo Salvini should be investigated for kidnapping and violation of international law. Far too often he has cowardly avoided prosecution by counting on his immunity in parliament,” says Sea-Watch chairman Johannes Bayer. “I’m willing to face the consequences for my decisions, as it is to be expected by a captain. What about Mr. Salvini ?” asks captain Carola Rackete.