German Migrant Taxi NGO Sends New Ship to the Mediterranean

AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti

The German migrant transport NGO Sea-Eye has announced it is ready to set sail on a new mission to pick up migrants in the Mediterranean and bring them to Europe in a vessel bigger than their last.

The NGO announced their new vessel, the Ghalib Kurdi, named after the brother of drowned toddler Alan Kurdi, would be setting sail by the end of the year. Currently stationed at the port of Regensburg in Germany, the NGO is only waiting for equipment and the formal transfer of ownership.

Sea-Eye fundraised for the vessel and mission with the support of several groups, including the Roman Catholic church in Germany, which the NGO singled out for praise, newspaper Il Giornale reports.

The NGO’s other vessel, the Alan Kurdi, was seized by Italian authorities but was allowed to leave in June. It remains at the port of Burriana in Spain.

Sea-Eye has allegedly been hesitant to resume migrant transport operations off the Libyan coast, fearing that their ship could be seized by Italian authorities again.

The decision to launch a new vessel mirrors moves by another German migrant transport NGO, Sea-Watch, which had its ship, the Sea-Watch 3, seized in July after it had brought at least 28 migrants infected with Chinese coronavirus to Italy.

Last month, the group launched another vessel, the Sea-Watch 4, which has transported 353 migrants to Italy this week. It is expected to drop them off in Palermo on Wednesday where they will be quarantined due to the pandemic.

Also in the Mediterranean is the vessel Louise Michel, named after a French anarchist and funded by the British street artist Banksy.

Dubbed the “Banksy Boat”, the vessel is captained by former Sea-Watch member Pia Klemp, who was arrested by Italian authorities in 2019 on charges of aiding illegal migration. Last weekend, the Banksy Boat became stranded at sea after becoming overloaded with more than 200 migrants.

Sicily governor Nello Musumeci and Lampedusa mayor Toto Martello have both expressed anger at the Italian leftist coalition government over the increase in landings, with Governor Musumeci planning to shut down migrant reception areas in Sicily.

Both politicians are set to meet with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Wednesday to discuss the growing migrant crisis in the central Mediterranean.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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