Patrick was aboard Humanity 1 as 3rd engineer in the fourth rotation. In addition to his daily tasks, he also deals with personal stories of flight and political issues surrounding the situation in the Mediterranean. We talked abouth his path to civilian search and rescue, the working atmosphere on board Humanity 1 and his political demands.
What are your position and your tasks on board the Humanity 1?
As third engineer [Motorman] my main job concerns maintenance and repair works in engine room and machinery spaces as directed by the second or Chief engineer. I also assist the second engineer with Planned Maintenance Services [PMS], take morning and noon record readings of all machinery onboard from the engine room generators through to other machinery in the auxiliary engine rooms, whilst observing for defects. Also it is required of me to keep engine and auxiliary rooms clean from oil and fuel spills and rust, to ensue a safe working space.
What motivates you to be part of search and rescue?
My journey into the maritime work began in 2019 after having schooled and worked as a civil engineer. I wanted something more new and exciting. I first heard of search and rescue from a friend. Having listened to his experience and the opportunities to put my skill sets to work, I began reading and following more on the website of SOS Humanity.
I’ve heard and read about Ghanaians travelling through Libya to Europe, I saw this opportunity to be part of an organisation that will enable me have first hand experience with these survivors and put me directly in a position to help these unfortunate people most of who have become victims of torture and pain.
How much different is your job on our rescue vessel from working on a commercial vessel?
I had my first experience with SOS Humanity. Although I haven’t been on a commercial vessel yet, I did spend two years [2020-2022] working on navy vessels back home in Ghana as a civilian attaché where my job was similar to what I do here here (except I worked in the dry docks/Shipyard mainly). As it’s known within the Military, the high level of “obey before complain” method was a sharp contrast I realized didn’t exist working here on Humanity 1.
Onboard Humanity I got to appreciate that the essence to show respect and be tolerant, with others played an important role. The working environment is congenial, and friendly, and the “absence” of the “hierarchical” system as opposed to what’s experienced in commercial vessels or military settings, does not in any way, make crew members less disciplined. There’s a high level of respect and discipline onboard. In my opinion one can be disciplined without being stern or “mean”.
What means humanity for you?
Humanity for me means hope. It is the hope through which trust is built and love is experienced. In my opinion, everything else in nature will and can function just fine and perfectly. It is only humans who need each other to enable themselves and understand the meaning of life.
Do you have political demands or wishes you’d like to express about the situation on the Mediterranean?
I believe that the people in power, those in political space, know too well that the Mediterranean has served as a watery graveyard for thousands of perished souls if not millions. It’s quite unfortunate that little attention is given to this phenomenon as the statistics keeps growing. It is in my opinion that much can be done to safeguard the lives of people crossing the Mediterranean. If politicians could support the work of NGOs, especially with making more legislature to abort the criminalization of search and rescue organisation, I am certain that posterity will judge us right.
Again, and more importantly, it is in my opinion that if the legalities of travelling across borders is reviewed and less oppostion is given to Africans seeking to come into Europe legally, it will play an important role in reducing the desperation for people willing to risk their lives through perilous journeys as those who choose to go through the Mediterranean.