#Yachtfleet from Mission Lifeline: Sailing demo against distress


#Yachtfleet from Mission Lifeline

Several sailboats are protesting on the sea for more sea rescue. The crews also want to save lives themselves. Soon they leave for Lampedusa.

Demonstrators of the Yachtfleet aboard the Mediterranean Sea, a person speaking in a radio

Preparing for Emergency: Members of #Yachtfleet Photo: Danilo Campilla

MEDITERRANEAN SEA taz | A woman drifts between the waves and screams. She just jumped. Her head disappears in the water, emerges, goes under. About five meters from her, the rubber dinghy floats with four other people; they stand, scream, wave. The rescuers rumble over the waves, their reinforced dinghy claps on the water. When they are near, they brake, they grab the woman, the people calm down, so that no one else jumps. Everything has to happen at the same time.

The distress rescuers belong to #Yachtfleet: a demo of sailboats on the Mediterranean, organized by Mission Lifeline. Even the people who just appeared to be in distress belong to the crew. With three boats, the demonstrators want to demonstrate for longer than a week on the Mediterranean for sea rescue. In the event that they encounter boats that are really in distress, they train together before.

Whether student, artist, chief physician, solar system installer, whether in their late 20s or mid-70s, everyone says they came to help. Some of the people who ride have no experience in sailing or in rescue. Most can do one or the other.

Sea rescue with sailboats: this combination has not existed so far. The idea originated because the large private ships after sea rescue are repeatedly confiscated in ports.

“We prepare the boats for rescue”

The demo is about the 18,000 people who have drowned in the Mediterranean over the last five years. It is about reports of state and non-state torture camps in Libya and those of fishermen who repeatedly find body parts in their networks. And it's about saving the EU's sea rescue in the Mediterranean.

“To my parents, I said: If I went to Libya, Syria or Iraq instead of Sicily, I would be more relaxed,” says Andrea Quaden. The 33-year-old is a humanitarian aid worker and has never been on the high seas, only on land. Initially at the Turkish-Syrian border, then three years in Iraq. During the offensive against the so-called Islamic State, when it was not known whether more than 500,000 or 1.5 million people would quickly flee Mosul, it was there for non-governmental organizations.

Gerhard Meyer is 76 and used to be a police officer. Before, before his medical studies. Afterwards he was often in the Antarctic, as an expedition doctor with penguinologists. He was a chief physician, psychotherapist and treated people in Latin America in a jungle clinic. “I'm there as a doctor, but my job here is mainly in the psychological care,” says Meyer. “A woman is holding her dead baby in her arms. It died. Squeezed or suffocated or drowned on the boat in the boat. What do you do?”

The round considered. One of the most common suggestions: make body contact. “That can help too. But in the end it's about what happens to this baby. I advise against taking the dead body with you. I look after the mother and in the end we both hand over their baby to the sea together. “

On Thursday, June 13th, the crews have been training for a week – and are leaving. The first destination is Lampedusa. The #Yachtfleet has planned for 30 hours for 133 nautical miles, equivalent to 240 kilometers. From Lampedusa it will go to the Maltese search and rescue zone: the part of the Mediterranean, in which Malta is responsible for maritime rescue. The plan is to spend eight days at sea. “It takes preparation to be at sea for so long,” says Michele Angioni, one of the seasoned saviors and sailors. “We teach everyone how to sail safely. In addition, we prepare the boats for rescues. At present, the Mediterranean is full of emergencies. “

Over 22,500 people have saved “Sophia”

Europe has been launching and resuming two major maritime rescue programs since 2013 in the Mediterranean. Mare Nostrum ran for a year, until October 2014, and saved more than 150,000 lives. Makes about 400 per day, in more than 420 missions. “Mare Nostrum clarifies an idea,” said the then Italian Defense Minister in 2014. “Italy is not a country that allows the Mediterranean, which actually gives life, to become a cemetery.” Despite repeated requests for support, the EU allowed Italy to Mare Nostrum alone.

Many died in the sea after the end of Mare Nostrum. In 2015, the EU operation Eunavfor Med, later called “Sophia”, followed after the first child ever born on a Bundeswehr ship. Since the beginning of 2019 Sophia is actually hired. Officially, she keeps running. Without ships.


Even after the EU election, it is unclear how Europe's asylum policy is developing. In the meantime, new dramas are playing daily on the Mediterranean Sea. From the 3rd to the 24th June the taz reports on the World Refugee Day on June 20th in reports, reports, interviews and livestreams about the global refugee numbers, protests and rescues in the Mediterranean, the situation at the EU's external borders and asylum Plans by Interior Minister Horst Seehofer. The entire coverage can be found on taz.de/flucht

In a magazine of the German army German soldier took stock. “Monitor” reported on February 21, 2019. “These were warlike scenes. There were people naked in the water who were fighting for their lives, screaming because their boat was about to sink, “said Jan Hodam, a chief boat driver. More than 22,500 people have rescued German soldiers in the four years Sophia. Currently, the “Sea-Watch 3” is back in the Mediterranean. 22 people on a 50-meter-long, hundred-tonne steel ship.

#Yachtfleet consists of three boats, with a crew of 26 people. “We hope we can help people,” says skipper Thomas Nuding. “With life jackets and water. We are well prepared. For me it is also a success, if we meet no calamity, but attract public attention for the problem. “

According to a 2012 European Court of Human Rights ruling, European ships are not allowed to return rescued people to Libya. Since 2017, the EU has been paying millions to equip the so-called Libyan Coast Guard to do so. 46.3 million euros are initially estimated. Without sanction possibilities.

Tormented with electric shocks

An international team of lawyers has reported the EU to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. Libya is in a civil war. Reports from diplomats, the media and the UN, as well as scientific publications, say that people are being tortured, beaten, shocked with electric batons, raped, and starved in government and non-state prisons in Libya. There are untreated epidemics, bloodied walls, hundreds of bodies found on streets, rubbish dumps and in hospitals. On slave markets one sells refugees. Children are forcibly prostituted. Numerous reports indicate that the Libyan Coast Guard is involved in the smuggling business.

“The Coast Guard is interested in the outboard: it collects the boats again, and sells them back to the smugglers,” says Martin Ernst. The 38-year-old used to work for Postbank. Today he studies nautical, is involved with Mission Lifeline and trains the crews of #Yachtfleet in driving the dinghies. “Encounters usually went well. They say, 'Piss off!' Or threaten: 'Helper, Helper, I kill you.' I've had some tricky situations, but they used to run, they said, Take the people, we'll take the outboard. “

The tazze, the logo of the taz

Are we radical enough? This question is being asked by the young activists of Fridays for Future, Extinction Rebellion and the End of the World – a report in the taz on the weekend of 15/16. June. The sociologist Armin Nassehi also thinks about how to stop climate change. Help prohibitions? In addition: Insect burgers in the test. Always from Saturday at the kiosk, in the eKiosk or in the practical weekend subscription. And on Facebook and Twitter,

After each new revelation, the EU continued to support the militia. In the hope that it would be better. According to non-governmental organizations, things have gotten worse. “They make fun of us,” says the dinghy driver Helmut Philipp, as #Yachtfleet sails to Lampedusa. If it comes to a rescue, this would be his first use.

Over the air Philipp overheard a standard Libyan channel. “I do not speak Arabic, but they say the names of our boats and laugh.” #Yachtfleet has three private sailing and three dinghies. The Libyan Coast Guard, on the other hand, gets military ships from Italy, millions from the EU and is armed with machine guns.

. (tagsToTranslate) Refugees (t) Sea Rescue (t) Mediterranean (t) Mission Lifeline (t) Demonstrations (t) Escape (t) Europe (t) Politics (t) Focus (t) taz (t) daily newspaper


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.