Wednesday, April 22, 2015 - 18:41
Volunteers to help endangered refugees in the Mediterranean
A Dutch cutter ship departed from Eemshaven, Groningen on Tuesday to help rescue people in danger of drowning in the Mediterranean sea. The 21-meter "Sea Watch", a privately-owned Dutch boat, has an all-volunteer international crew and working with the financial support of four German families, AD reports The vessel's crew and its backers can no longer tolerate seeing people die needlessly, saying that it is wrong for Europe to use their death as a deterrent to future migrants. The red, white and blue ship will help guide the Italian coastguard to refugees in trouble, but the ship is not equipped to bring people aboard. "We will soon be the eyes and ears of Italian coastguard. We have on-board radars and we patrol the areas where the boats sail. If a refugee boat is in trouble, we will tell the coastguard where they are, how many people there are and what the condition of the ship is," 26-year old Dutch crew member Johannes Bayer tells to AD. Bayer claims that adequate help is not available and that it is hard for the people on the boats to contact coastguard with limited technology, broken English and without the ability to provide coordinates. "Our equipment will soon form an important link in that communication," Bayer says. He also emphasizes a cautious approach, since boats have capsized in the past when lifeboats have come too close. The crew will hand out medicine and water, and will leave the job of saving the refugees to the coastguard. It does have a small motorboat on deck, deployable in extreme emergencies to rescue people who are overboard, according to broadcaster NOS. The crew will work a cycle of ten consecutive days at sea, followed by two days at port in Malta. Sea Watch will reach the Mediterranean around mid-May.