About us 

As a non-governmental search and rescue organisation, we strive for a world in which the human rights of all are respected. SOS Humanity stands for humanity at sea and on land. We are committed to ensuring that no person drowns while fleeing at sea and that everyone is treated with dignity.

Seven years of rescuing, protecting and accompanying as well as witnessing

Founded in 2015 in Berlin as SOS Mediterranee Germany, we have been operating in the central Mediterranean since 2016, first with the rescue ship Aquarius, and, from mid-2019 until the end of 2021, with the Ocean Viking. We rescue people from distress at sea, protect and assist them on board our rescue ship and make their stories public. As part of the European network SOS Mediterranee International, we were able to rescue, until the end of 2021, a total of 34,631 children, women and men from drowning and brought them to a place of safety.

Life-saving mission under a new name

As of January 1st 2022, we are continuing our work as SOS Humanity – detached from the previous international network – and bring a new ship to the Mediterranean by mid-2022: With the  “Humanity 1”, we want to save even more people. Additionally, we also seek to highlight the consequences of the EU’s inhumane migration policy.

Our rescue ship and our work are financed by donations from the civil society. Our new name SOS Humanity is a compass, a reminder and a call at the same time: saving lives is a duty – in the Mediterranean as well! Help us accomplish this goal!


We save

With our new ship – the Humanity 1 – we will rescue people fleeing from distress at sea in the central Mediterranean from mid-2022.

We protect
and assist

We provide the rescued people on board with clothing and food, as well as medical and psychological care. Furthermore we identify special protection needs and communicate them to the respective authorities.


We document the fates of survivors and make abuses and human rights violations in the central Mediterranean public.


We bring the inhumane consequences of the European migration policy to light and take a stand for the rights of people on the move at sea on a political level.

Our demands to the European Union and its member states

applicable law

EU states must ensure that applicable international law is respected and implemented in the central Mediterranean. Obligations under international law must not be knowingly circumvented. This includes, among other things, the duty to rescue at sea, the state coordination of search and rescue operations and the fastest possible allocation of a port of safety to disembark rescued persons.

Establish an European
search and rescue

The EU member states must finally establish a European-organised and financed, as well as state-coordinated, sea rescue programme in the central Mediterranean. Sufficient ships must be deployed for the purpose of search and rescue. People in distress at sea must be rescued and then brought to a port of safety as quickly as possible, in accordance with international law.

End the funding
and training
of the Libyan coast guard

We demand that the EU ends the funding and training of the Libyan coast guard. EU states must not elude their responsibility to perform search and rescue by outsourcing it to Libya. The targeted enabling of the Libyan coast guard to intercept people on the high seas and force them back to Libya in violation of international law must be ended. The direct or indirect involvement of EU states in the forced return of rescued people to Libya is a violation of international law.

Stop hindering and criminalizing
civil search and rescue activities

European citizens have started the non-governmental search and rescue because EU member states are not fulfilling their legal obligations in the central Mediterranean. It must be ensured that non-governmental search and rescue can take place in the Mediterranean without any restrictions. Civilian ships must receive full support from the coordination centres during search and rescue operations.

The people behind  SOS HUMANITY  

Founded by citizens in 2015 in response to the deaths in the Mediterranean and the failure of the European Union to prevent these deaths, SOS Humanity reflects different personal and professional backgrounds. SOS Humanity lives from all the people opposing the dying in the Mediterranean: civil society, members, board members, the teams ashore and at sea, volunteers and donors.

The ordinary members of SOS Humanity determine the principles of our life-saving work and elect the board. The honorary board manages the association in accordance with our statutes and the resolutions of the general meeting.

The team at the office in Berlin implements the goals of SOS Humanity.

The future crew on board rescues, accompanies the rescued on board and collects their stories. You want to join our crew? Read more.

The members of the now seven volunteer groups in Germany multiply our work and are our anchor in civil society. In direct interaction with citizens, they create much-needed awareness for the situation in the Mediterranean.

You want to volunteer?
In Germany, volunteer groups in the following cities already exist:

Your town is not on the list? Write to: freiwillige@sos-humanity.org