German Migrant Taxi NGO Adds New Larger Ship To Be Launched in 2021

This photo taken on September 25, 2020 and provided by Italian news agency ANSA shows the
STRINGER/ANSA/AFP via Getty Images

German migrant transport NGO Sea-Eye has purchased a new vessel, larger than their current ship, and plans to begin missions in the Mediterranean in 2021.

The ship, which is the fourth vessel purchased by the NGO, is set to be named the Sea-Eye-4 and is much larger than the current ship used by the NGO, the Alan Kurdi.

According to a report from Deutsche Welle, the ship has been financed in large part by the United4Rescue group, a Hanover-based association that describes itself as a “broad alliance to support civilian sea rescue.”

“We unite all social organisations and groups that do not want to stand idly by and watch the thousands of deaths in the Mediterranean,” the group states on its website.

United4Rescue states that the new ship is 60 meters long and 11 meters wide but does not list how many migrants are able to be accommodated per trip, simply stating: “the aft deck offers sufficient space for the safe accommodation of the rescued, who often have to spend several days or even weeks on board.”

According to Sea-Eye themselves, the ship will also be outfitted to deal with migrants who may be potentially infected with the Wuhan coronavirus.

Earlier this year, Italian doctor Caterina Ciufegni, who worked for Sea-Eye at the time, played down concerns over the coronavirus saying, “Facing people who run away from torture, coronavirus takes second place. I think we all accepted the risk.”

The new vessel comes as migrant landings have surged in the Mediterranean, particularly in Italy where the island of Lampedusa has seen hundreds of migrants arrive, sometimes withinin a period of only a few days at a time.

While Italian authorities have made some attempts to hinder migrant taxi NGOs after the outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus, some, such as the Spanish NGO Open Arms, remains operating off of the Libyan coast. On Saturday, Open Arms transferred 255 migrants to Italian authorities in Sicily.


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