In Pictures

A closer look at the rescue vessel berthed in limbo

Detained Sea Watch 3 also serves as temporary home to its crew members. Sea rescue is not just about misery and suffering. There is space for hope and fun too. Toys, washing lines and origami birds in the engineer’s cabin are also part of a rescue vessel.

Over a month has passed since the rescue vessel Sea Watch 3 has been given the order to stay put in Malta, unable to leave its moorings.

Although the boat is at a standstill, slowly swaying with the movement of the sea beneath them, the volunteers polish up the vessel as they await the day when they can go back to rescuing people at sea. “We have to do the maintenance on the ship which needs to be done—to be ready to leave the port. On the other hand, we are trying not to get too desperate and angry about the situation, so that we try to spend some time on team building”, said one of the crew members.

Each mission lasts up to three weeks, with some volunteers doing as many as three, making the boat a temporary home. The vessel looks both homely and set to serve a multitude of people.

The engineer’s room at the bottom of the vessel is decorated with origami birds and other personal touches.
Water and mission gear are piled neatly, awaiting the next mission to save hundreds of refugees. The rubber boats which are used along with the rescue vessel usually manage to take between 100-150 people on board, whilst the wooden boats can have twice or three times as much.
Washing lines and pegs hang at the topmost part of the vessel.
A box of toys is kept on the boat, given to migrant children who are rescued. These especially come in handy when those rescued are kept on board for a longer period of time, in which the team attempts to entertain the migrants as best as they can.
The area in which refugees stay in once they are helped onto the boat. Drinking water is available from various points around the vessel.
Piles of cups are found all around the kitchen and are used to serve the migrants tea and rejuvenating drinks.
Beans and rice are the most common dishes cooked up by the team for the migrants, once they are rescued.
The room kept for the crew to eat and socialise in. The team of volunteers is an international one, the majority of whom are German, but including people from the Netherlands, Italy, the UK, Portugal, South Korea and Australia.


All photos were taken by the author, Joanna Demarco.

This article was first published on Isles of the Left. It has been published here with permission.