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Germany's Sea-Eye adds fourth migrant rescue ship

November 15, 2020

The NGO is launching an additional vessel amid a spike in the number of migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea. Some 900 people have drowned making the treacherous journey from North Africa to Europe.

The Alan Kurdi, a Sea Eye vessel
Image: Gian Mario Sias/Ansa/picture-alliance

The German migrant rescue organization Sea-Eye is bolstering its fleet with an additional rescue ship, the NGO announced on Sunday.

The vessel named Sea-Eye 4 is currently stationed in northern Germany and will begin work as soon as possible, the organization said.

"We just need a lot more rescue ships," spokesman Gorden Isler told German news agency DPA.

According to the Sea-Eye website, the ship will be its fourth rescue boat.

The project has been largely financed by the United4Rescue alliance, based in the city of Hanover, Sea-Eye confirmed.

Isler wrote on Twitter that without the alliance's help, "buying such a large ship would have remained unimaginable."

Increasing numbers, heightened risks

The announcement comes as the number of people trying to reach Europe via the treacherous routes in the Mediterranean continues to rise, particularly from Libya to Italy.

On Saturday, the migrant rescue ship Open Arms transferred 255 migrants to Italian authorities in Sicily after the Spanish NGO noticed their boats in distress in the Mediterranean Sea earlier this week.

And on Thursday at least 74 people drowned when their boat sank off the Libyan coast, the UN's International Organization for Migration (IOM) said.

The IOM says 900 people have drowned in the Mediterranean this year alone.

Meanwhile, some 11,000 migrants have been returned to Libya, where they are at risk of violence and exploitation.

jsi/mm (dpa, epd)