Amsterdammer in Mediterranean helping asylum seekers at sea

Asylum seekers crossing the Mediterranean sea (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Vito Manzari). (Asylum seekers crossing the Mediterranean sea (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Vito Manzari))

Amsterdam resident Reineir Boere will soon be patrolling the Mediterranean sea aboard the Sea-Watch, looking for refugees who are in trouble. The ship will be setting sail from the Italian island of Lampedusa on Wednesday and will be patrolling the area between Malta and Libya for two weeks, providing first aid to migrants in distress.

Boere told NU that he will not accept people drowning in the Mediterranean just because "they aren't able to legally apply for asylum in Europe". "People are forced to board a boat and to risk their lives", the 37 year old Amsterdammer said to the newspaper.

The Sea-Watch is a German initiative. Boere helped the initiators purchase the former fishing boat in Harlingen last year. The ship has since been considerably rebuilt before it left from Hamburg, Germany to Lampedusa for the first time in April. The ship is now equipped with better communication means, 300 life jackets, life rafts and a crane to quickly launch a dingy in the water.

The Sea Watch provides supports to organizations ailing in the region, such as Doctors without Borders.