Eva, able seafarer and part of the maritime crew on board Humanity 1

Matrosin Eva auf der Brücke des Rettungsschiffes der Humanity 1 beim Ausschauhalten mit Fernglas
Max Cavallari / SOS Humanity
Matrosin Eva bei der Verteilung von Rescue Kits auf der Humanity 1
Max Cavallari / SOS Humanity

Eva from France is an able seafarer and member of our maritime crew. On the one hand, she takes on typical maritime work like maintenance on deck, bridge watches and of course training for urgent situations.

On the other hand, Eva also supports the launch and recovery of our fast rescue boats (RHIBs) before and after a rescue operation. Additionally, she takes part in the distribution of rescue kits and food, and is thus an important first contact person for rescued people.

We interviewed her after her second operation on board Humanity 1 in December 2022, as we wanted to learn more about her motivation, experiences, and political demands.

This interview is part of our focus on women on the run around #InternationalWomensDay.

What motivates you to be part of the SOS Humanity crew?

I have always been passionate about the sea. I used to hang out on the docks when I was a kid and several of my family members work in the marine industry. I remember the smell of the nets my uncles used to store in my grandmother’s garage and the sailor’s stories.

I decided to train professionally last year as an able seafarer. It’s hard to explain what I feel when I’m at sea and very intimate, but I’m sure that’s where I belong.

For me, being part of a search and rescue NGO allows me to work in the field that I love. At the same time I´m able to defend human rights and to stand up against the acts of injustice that take place in the Mediterranean Sea every day.

Since being part of the crew of Humanity 1, I feel that it’s more than just a job, it’s also a way to defend ethical and moral values.

How is it for you to be a female seafarer? Are there experiences you want to share? What is the general situation and how should it change?

I think the maritime world is not easy for women in general, although things are changing. When I started working, my first job was a double position, I had to be on the deck and also do the cooking. Very quickly the captain made me realise that working on the deck would never be for me. In general, I heard a lot of macho and sexist comments, just like the old superstition that forbade women from being on board.

Fortunately, I had several friends who worked in the marine world who proved me wrong. Also, I had a really strong motivation to work for search and rescue NGOs one day, so I kept going.

When I started on board Humanity 1, I loved the working spirit; we were a team composed of two women, including me, and two men, with different cultures and backgrounds. Here, there is no difference between men and women. Everyone is taken into consideration, trains and learns from each other. I hope that women will be more represented and recognised in other maritime sectors.

What does ‘humanity’ mean for you?

For me, the notion of humanity refers to benevolence, generosity, compassion and towards humans. These are values that allow us to be united and to grow as people.

What are your political demands?

The list could be long…

I would like European governments to open their eyes and act together towards an improvement of the situation in the Mediterranean Sea. Migration policy should be rethought in order to treat people with more humanity and dignity. More generally, I expect concrete political actions to help people suffering from discrimination and social exclusion.

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SOS Humanity e.V.
Postbox 440352
D-12003 Berlin

Phone +49 (0) 30 2352 5682


SOS Humanity e.V.

IBAN: DE 0410 0500 0001 9041 8451