Prior to its deployment as a rescue ship, the Humanity 1 (until August 2022: Sea-Watch 4) was the research vessel "Poseidon" and belonged to the state of Schleswig-Holstein. It was operated by the Geomar Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel.
The ship was built at the Schichau Unterweser shipyard in Bremerhaven. The launch took place on 2 May 1976. Afterwards, she sailed as a research vessel on many seas: the North Sea, the Black Sea, the Red Sea, the Mediterranean, the North Atlantic. She was used in particular for deep-sea research. After more than 43 years and 539 expeditions, the Poseidon was decommissioned.
United4Rescue and Sea-Watch e.V. bought the ship in January 2020. Thanks to thousands of donors, the campaign #WirSchickenEinSchiff raised the necessary money within 6 weeks and the Poseidon was auctioned off for 1.3 million euros. On 20 February 2020, the ship was christened "Sea-Watch 4" - with the addition "powered by United4Rescue". After the Corona pandemic delayed the conversion to a rescue ship, the ship was detained by the Italian authorities for more than half a year directly after its first mission. After several successful missions, the rescue organisation SOS Humanity took over the ship in August 2022. As Humanity 1, our first alliance ship has continued to save lives in the Mediterranean since then.
By the end of 2022, the alliance ship had been deployed eight times and rescued a total of more than 2,500 people from distress at sea.
The Humanity 1 sails under the German flag. After extensive conversion work, it is one of the largest, best-equipped rescue ships in the Mediterranean. Among other things, there is a shelter area especially for women and children and an infirmary on the ship.
You can find many pictures of the Sea-Watch4 / Humanity 1 and its missions on our Flickr account.
FAQ Humanity 1
What kind of ship is the Humanity 1?
Before its deployment as a rescue ship, the Humanity 1 was the research vessel "Poseidon" and belonged to the state of Schleswig-Holstein. It was operated by the Geomar Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel. The ship was built in 1976, is over 60 metres long and 11 metres wide. It was successfully auctioned off by Sea-Watch and United4Rescue in January 2020 and christened "Sea-Watch 4" in February 2020. Since August 2022, the ship has been operated as "Humanity 1" by SOS Humanity. It sails under the German flag. After extensive conversion work, it is one of the largest, best-equipped rescue ships in the Mediterranean. Among other things, there is a shelter area especially for women and children and an infirmary on the ship.
Who owns the Humanity 1?
The Humanity 1 belongs to the sea rescue organization SOS Humanity, which also operates the ship. It was previously operated by Sea-Watch e.V. United4Rescue was instrumental in the purchase and conversion of the ship.
How many rescued people can the ship accommodate?
The Humanity 1 can accommodate about 300 refugees on board. In acute emergencies, however, there can be considerably more for a short time. There are 28 crew members on board during the mission.
How much does a rescue ship cost?
Purchase prices vary from ship to ship — depending on type, equipment, condition. Our first alliance ship, the Sea-Watch 4, was acquired with a bid of 1.3 million euros. Our second alliance ship, SEA-EYE 4, cost 250,000 euros. However, the purchase alone is not enough. Further considerable costs are due for conversion and operation.
What does it mean that the Humanity 1 is an alliance ship of United4Rescue?
United4Rescue was instrumental in the purchase of the Humanity 1 (former Sea-Watch 4) — and remains connected to the ship even beyond that. The many donors and allies of United4Rescue stand behind the ship — even if it is arrested or the crew is criminalised or attacked.