January mission of the SEA-EYE 4
Because the January mission of the SEA-EYE 4 could not be financed through own donations, United4Rescue supported the mission of the alliance ship with 100,000 euros. So the mission could take place as planned: Cast off for the SEA-EYE 4!
Winter aid at the Polish-Belarusian border
The Polish network Grupa Granica provides humanitarian aid for migrants on the border with Belarus. Fearing violent push-backs, the fleeing people hide in the forests and swamps of the border region, often injured and hypothermic. Numerous people have already frozen to death in the icy winter. Grupa Granica operates an emergency number and sends volunteer helpers to the shelter seekers who bring vital medicines, food, warm sleeping bags and clothing. United4Rescue supports the rescue operations in winter 2022/23 with 55,500 Euro.
Search drones for sea rescue
The SearchWing association — which emerged from a project at the Augsburg University of Applied Sciences — has developed a search drone that is intended to help rescue organizations locate inflatable boats in distress at sea. United4Rescue supported the association with 21,000 euros for personnel costs so that SAR NGOs can be trained in the operation of the drone and operations can be accompanied.
Winter shipyard of the NADIR
After numerous missions in 2022, the sailing yacht NADIR of the Resqship organization was due for important maintenance work. In the winter shipyard, for example, the underwater hull was repainted and the engine overhauled. United4Rescue supported the work with 75,000 euros.
A rescue ship for Lampedusa
The Italian island of Lampedusa is located in the middle of the central Mediterranean Sea. United4Rescue is supporting the purchase of a small rescue boat to be launched directly from Lampedusa for search and rescue operations. The project is currently (end of 2022) still in the planning stage.
Emergency medical aid on the Balkan route
Medical Volunteer International (MVI) provides humanitarian emergency aid at the European external borders with qualified volunteers from all over the world. Along the Serbian-Hungarian border and in Bosnia, MVI helps victims of illegal push-backs and border violence. These are mostly people who have to live outside the official camps under catastrophic hygienic conditions and have no access to water, hygiene or basic medical care. United4Rescue supported the purchase of medicines and the coordination and organization of vital medical care with 32,000 euros.
Rescue operations of the SEA-EYE 4
In 2022, rescue organizations were faced with sharply increased prices, especially for fuel. United4Rescue therefore supported the last two rescue missions of the SEA-EYE 4 this year with 300,000 euros. Half of this went into a donation-doubling campaign, through which private donations of the same amount could be won again. This together ensured that both operations could take place as planned.
Ocean Viking: Conversions and Maintenance
With its rescue ship, the Ocean Viking, and its predecessor, the Aquarius, the sea rescue organization SOS Mediterranee has been able to save more than 36,000 people from drowning since 2015. In 2022 there were important conversions and maintenance work on the Ocean Viking. Among other things, a launching device for a new, third speedboat was installed and the on-board clinic was renovated. United4Rescue supported these measures with a total of 100,000 euros.
Support for purchasing the Sea-Watch 5
There is no end in sight to the deadly border policy on the Mediterranean. The EU member states continue to allow people seeking protection to die at their external borders. Therefore, together with Sea-Watch and many supporters, we are sending a new, third alliance ship for sea rescue to the Mediterranean — the Sea-Watch 5. The ship is larger, faster and more efficient than the previous Sea-Watch ships. As a result, it can take even more people in distress on board and provide them with better care. United4Rescue supported the purchase of the Sea-Watch 5 with 200,000 euros.
Legal assistance for criminalized refugees
In Greece and Italy people who have steered a boat trying to cross the Mediterranean are systematically accused of "smuggling". Because the smugglers don't go on board or leave the boat early, those seeking protection are forced to take the helm themselves — and are often arrested as soon as they arrive. They face imprisonment for years or decades, and the trials generally violate basic constitutional standards. The organization Borderline Europe supports people criminalized for facilitating illegal entry into Italy and Greece with legal advice, process monitoring, public relations and solidarity campaigns. United4Rescue is funding this work for the period 2022/23 with 85,000 euros.
Rescue Operations of the Humanity 1
In August 2022, the sea rescue organization SOS Humanity took over our alliance ship Sea-Watch 4. As Humanity 1, the ship will continue to be used in rescue operations in the future. United4Rescue supported the first missions of Humanity 1 in 2022 with 300,000 euros for fuel, provisions, rescue equipment and medicine, among other things.
Logistics support for sea rescue
L'Aurora – Grup de Suport is an association of civil society and social movements that support civil sea rescue NGOs during stays in the Spanish ports of Burriana and Vinaròs. The volunteers help, for example, with the logistics of loading and unloading the ships, arrange experts and suppliers and support communication with authorities and companies. United4Rescue supported the establishment of a warehouse and offices with 40,000 euros.
IMARA: First aid operations in the central Mediterranean
The organization r42 sailandrescue has been conducting monitoring and first aid operations in the central Mediterranean with the sailing ship IMARA since summer 2021. The IMARA crew can provide people in distress with medical supplies and food and remain on site until a suitable rescue ship arrives. United4Rescue supports the IMARA rescue operations in 2022 with 30,000 euros for running costs and the purchase of a radar device.
Travel expenses for networking and activists meeting
United4Rescue supports the Transborder SummerCamp 2022 near Nantes, France, with 10,000 euros. Rescue organizations and activists who work for sea rescue and against criminalization and human rights violations along the EU's external border, meet at the camp. The special feature: NGOs from Europe and Africa take part in the exchange. With our funding, we help initiatives and people who otherwise cannot afford to travel with the travel costs.
Warmth, that saves lives
With Blindspots, United4Rescue supported an organization that does not work directly in sea rescue for the first time. Blindspots helps people on the move in the northern border region of Bosnia. The brutality, lawlessness and push-backs in the Balkans are similar to the situation in the Mediterranean. The bitterly cold winters can be life-threatening for the people stuck there. Blindspots provides help in the makeshift dwellings and for particularly vulnerable people seeking protection, such as families, children and women traveling alone – for example with heat from firewood and self-made stoves. We supported Blindspots with 50,000 euros. You just don't let people freeze to death. Full stop.
Christmas mission of the SEA-EYE 4
With funding of over 125,000 euros*, United4Rescue enabled the SEA-EYE 4 to set sail for another rescue operation in December 2021. During the mission, the alliance ship rescued 223 people in distress. On December 24th, all the rescued were able to disembark in a safe harbor.
* This funding was approved in 2021 and paid out in early 2022.
Observation flights over the Mediterranean
In July 2021, United4Rescue decided to support the organisation Ciel Solidaire, which operates a reconnaissance aircraft. With observation flights over the central Mediterranean, it helps to spot boats in distress and report the emergencies to the authorities so that fewer people have to drown. The aircraft is also able to air-drop urgently needed medicines or other materials for civilian rescue ships. Illegal push-backs by coastguards and Libyan militias can also be well documented from the air. United4Rescue makes the conversion of the aircraft and the first mission possible.
Mission of the RESQ PEOPLE
In September 2021, United4Rescue decided to support the newly founded Italian rescue organisation RESQ. In June 2020, the organisation bought the ship ALAN KURDI from the German association Sea-Eye and christened her RESQ PEOPLE. With this support, United4Rescue enables the presence of another European rescue ship in the central Mediterranean Sea and at the same time strengthens the European network of rescue organisations.
Technical devices for the NADIR
The association RESQSHIP supports rescues on the Mediterranean Sea with the sailing ship NADIR. With 50,000 euros, United4Rescue supported the purchase and installation of several technical devices with the help of which sea emergencies can be better found and documented in the future: a radar device to identify boats at great distances even at night and in fog, a powerful satellite system to record data, to transmit image and information material as well as a wind generator system that reliably supplies the ship with electricity.
A fast boat against human rights abuses in the Aegean
In July 2021 United4Rescue decided to support the Greek aid organisation Attika Human Support. It operates a small speedboat on the island of Lesbos. Because also in the Aegean Sea people flee across the sea in rubber dinghies. Again and again there are accidents with fatalities, and even more frequently there are push-backs by the Greek coast guard, which pushes the people seeking protection towards Turkey or even abandons them on the open sea, in violation of international law. With the speedboat, Attika Human Support can report the sea emergencies and document human rights violations by the Greek coast guard. In addition, the organisation provides newly arriving protection seekers with basic necessities — such as warm clothing and hygiene items. The funding from United4Rescue will cover the operating costs of the speedboat for half a year until the end of 2021. This means that human rights violations do not go unnoticed.
Strengthen solidarity networks
In September 2021, United4Rescue decided to support the "Palermo-Dakar Convergences". At this conference, committed aid workers and activists met simultaneously in Palermo and Dakar in mid-September 2021 to plan together how solidarity and support for people on the move can be better organised. This involves political approaches in lobbying as well as practical help. With the support of United4Rescue, the travel costs of conference participants who otherwise could not afford to attend were covered.
Public attention for the "Free El Hiblu 3" trial
In September 2021, United4Rescue decided to support the alliance "Free El Hiblu 3" to draw attention to the criminalisation of civilian sea rescue. In 2019, three rescued young people on the oil tanker El Hiblu had successfully campaigned for over 100 rescued people to be taken to Malta rather than Libya. Because they interpreted and negotiated, they are charged with "terrorism" and "piracy". They face long prison sentences. The alliance "Free El Hiblu 3" ensures that the case is not forgotten and that as many people as possible campaign for the release of the three defendants. The funding from United4Rescue enables a staff position to coordinate these activities and write an information brochure.
Conversions for SOLAS certification
In spring 2021, United4Rescue supported important modifications to the SEA-EYE 4 with 423,000 euros. They made sure the rescue ship received the necessary SOLAS certification.
Purchase of the SEA-EYE 4
Before being used as a rescue ship, the SEA-EYE 4 was used as an offshore supply company on the Baltic Sea. United4Rescue financed the purchase and conversion of the ship significantly with 434,000 euros. The SEA-EYE 4 is equipped with an infirmary and two fast lifeboats to bring boat people on board and provide medical care. The ship's electrical and nautical equipment, accommodation and much more have also been adapted for the important task as a rescue ship.
Deployment of the "ALAN KURDI"
United4Rescue supported the rescue organisation Sea-Eye in April 2020 by covering mission costs of the ship ALAN KURDI in the amount of €79.000. Due to a long blockade and quarantine period of the ship, there were considerable unplanned additional costs. The subsequent mission was acutely endangered. Thanks to this support, Sea-Eye was able to prepare the next mission of the ALAN KURDI and quickly get back into action.
Strategic Litigation KAUF DER SEBASTIAN K
In October 2020, United4Rescue supported the rescue organisation Mare Liberum e.V. in a lawsuit against a new regulation of the German Ministry of Transport, which is supposed to make it more difficult for civilian rescue ships to operate. United4Rescue supported the purchase of the 14-metre sailing yacht Sebastian K, which is used to monitor the situation in the Aegean Sea between Greece and Turkey. Because the Sebastian K was refused permission to sail, Mare Liberum filed a complaint with the Hamburg Administrative Court. Successfully! The court upheld the blockade of the ship as unlawful.
The amendment to the Ship Safety Ordinance of the Federal Ministry of Transport of March 2020 should have been notified in advance to the European Commission. This had not been done, which meant that the amendment violated European law.
The project was also funded by the Foundation Fund for Sea Rescue and Sea-Watch.
Conversion of the Ocean Viking
United4Rescue supported the rescue organisation SOS Meditérranée in the autumn of 2020 with €170.000 for modifications of their ship Ocean Viking. Previously, the Italian authorities had found alleged defects in the ship and demanded a costly technical retrofit. This was to prevent the ship, like so many others, from carrying out rescues. Thanks to the help of United4Rescue, the newly imposed requirements were quickly implemented. For example, large life rafts, additional survival suits and specially certified life jackets were purchased. The ship's certificates were also renewed. Thus, the Ocean Viking was able to set sail again after a comparatively short period of time. In January 2021, she was the only rescue ship in operation and saved 370 people.
Auction and conversion of the Sea-Watch 4
It all started with the Sea-Watch 4: In January 2020, United4Rescue and Sea-Watch bought the Poseidon, a former research ship. Thanks to thousands of donors, the necessary money — more than one million euros — was raised within a few weeks for the #WirSchickenEinSchiff campaign. On February 20, the alliance ship was christened Sea-Watch 4 and then converted into a rescue ship. Among other things, a protective area especially for women and children and an infirmary were set up.