10. März 2015 · Kommentare deaktiviert für Hamburg: „Seawatch“ Pressekonferenz · Kategorien: Alarm Phone, Mittelmeer · Tags: ,

A short report from the press conference on the ship which will be baptised “Seawatch” on the 27th of March and then start to the Central Mediterranean Sea, where it will be from May to October:

The “Seawatch” is at the moment in the small harbour of Hamburg-Harburg, almost opposite a big ship which was just opened for the accommodation of 220 refugees who arrived in Hamburg.

Before the press conference, Miriam and me gave interviews about Watch the Med and the Alarmphone to journalists of Radio 1 (Berlin) and NDR.de (Hamburg). The people of the ship also said something very positive about the alarm phone and asked us to put some flyers on the table for the journalists.

There were more than 10 journalists from at least 8 media: Radio 1, NDR.de, NDR 90,3 (radio), NDR (TV), RTL Nord (TV), Hamburg 1 (TV), Hamburger Abendblatt (newspaper) and Henri-Nannen-School for journalists. They made a lot of interviews with Harald Höppner, the owner, Ruben Neugebauer, who is responsible for media contacts and documentation, and other people of the project (at the moment, there are some volunteers on the ship to do some work to get it ready). During the press conference, many questions were asked, especially about the supporters of this project, the route, the money, the aims, contacts to rescue services etc.

It was explained that the project has already got a lot of support, e.g. of a well-known professor and doctor (Gerhard Trabbert?), who will spend his holidays on the ship, several captains, lawyers and journalists, who are interested to travel on the ship (but this is only possible for one at the same time, and the crew will choose the person who fits best with the aims of the project).

The ship will start in the beginning of April, first to Lissabon, where they will probably meet a ship of Frontex, then to Malta, and from there to the Central Mediterranean between Libya and Italy.

The project is in contact with rescue services, and it is clear that they cannot rescue themselves, but be something like a “swimming eye” and a first aid station with some matierial like rafts to keep about 500 boatpeople on the water, until the coast guards come. They will only take boatpeople on board if the coastguards want it and if it is safe. In cooperation with the alarm phone, they want to be something like a “swimming telephone boot”, because they will be able to call the coast guards and ships which are around in case of distress at sea. They critisize that Mare Nostrum was finished and Triton has less money and other aims than to rescue boatpeople.

The money used for the ship is “not more than a upper class car costs”, Harald said, and much more important are people who support the project by voluntary work. They explained that the ship was in Holland before and has to be changed a bit (journalists asked details about this).

Harald also explained his motivation to buy such a ship and to create the project together with some friends. He told some stories about refugees he met and who came by boat, because there are no other ways to Europe – these are political decisions of the EU which have to be changed by politicians. The project can only give first aid to boatpeople, but they also think that the policy of the EU has to change and legal ways to Europe without risking lives must be opened so that people have the chance to ask for asylum here.

For the 27th of March, the “Seawatch”-people want that many interested people come and also someone of the Watch the Med Alarm Phone and of Lampedusa in Hamburg and/or other migrants who came by boat will talk.

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