After rescuing a total of 403 people from distress at sea in the last two weeks, our crew is now on its way to Siracusa, where preparations for the next operation of Humanity 1 are going to take place. This is only possible thanks to numerous donations we received. Many have responded to our call ”SOS – Save our ship!” and donated over 270,000 euros in total. This money is urgently needed: Food, fuel, and rescue kits need to be stocked up and maintenance works are being carried out so that the Humanity 1 is ready to operate again.
Only after the survivors have disembarked from Humanity 1 at the end of a mission, the crew has fulfilled its duty: They have rescued people and brought them to a place of safety, which completes rescue operations according to international maritime law. But their work does not end there. If the assigned port, in this case Ancona, is in the northeast of Italy, it takes several days f the Humanity 1 reaches Siracusa, where it is prepared for the next operation.
On the way there, it is less stressful onboard compared to the phase of search and rescue operations, but there is still a lot that needs to be done. Before the crew members of the next rotation come on board, the ship is prepared for the handover. In addition, debriefings are underway to gather feedback from the crew members on how the last mission went and to ensure a good transfer of knowledge.
Meanwhile, thoughts are still on the nine rescues of the last days and weeks. Some of them were rescue operations under the most difficult conditions. ”If we hadn’t been there, many of these people would have drowned for sure,” remembers Duarte, our second officer on board. The crew is all the more relieved that this mission was not the last for Humanity 1. During the entire rotation, our crew used social media to call for donations to save Humanity 1’s next operation. Very successfully: at the end of the campaign, a total of more than 270,000 euros had been donated! ”That means we can go back to the central Mediterranean to help save lives,” says Emmanuel, who is currently on board as an engineer. The nine rescues of a total of 403 people in the last two weeks show that the Humanity 1 is urgently needed there right now. Every rescue vessel counts!
In Siracusa, many of the the remaining crew members will disembark. Emmanuel stays, he will also be there during the next rotation in August – partly with new, partly familiar crew members. Together with the entire engine room team, he makes sure that all of Humanity 1’s engines run reliably. Because only with a fully functional ship can we continue saving lives at sea.
Food, fuel, and rescue kits also need to be stocked up. At each handover, a thorough inventory is taken place, based on which all needed products are ordered for the next mission. Tine, who has been on board Humanity 1 as a cook several times, has an excellent sense of what it takes to care for our 29 crew members and the many rescued people on board.Even though she buys as far ahead as possible, the prices for the food Tine cooks with on board have risen sharply. That is why she has also drawn attention to the financial emergency of SOS Humanity during the current mission. It is particularly close to her heart to do something to counter the European migration policy with her work in civilian sea rescue. She says: ”I became part of SOS Humanity because I am ashamed of European migration policy, which stops at nothing!”
Prices for other necessities like medicines, fuel, clothing, and rescue equipment have also increased. Overall, the cost of our rescue mission and running our ship is 25 percent higher than it was a few months ago. Of course, this also applies to future operations, which we also must plan and prepare for. To avoid getting into a similar financial emergency again like we did for the upcoming rotation, we are therefore dependent on permanent support. Distress cases cannot be planned, but our help can!