Blockage of our mission by the Ministry of Transport

The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI), headed by Andreas Scheuer, detained our two ships on August 19. This blockade is only possible due to an amendment to the Regulation on Ship Safety, which was specifically implemented to prevent our departure and our commitment to human rights in the Aegean. We are taking legal action against this change and have filed an emergency appeal.

The Federal Ministry for Transport (‘BMVI’) amends the Regulation on Sea Leisure Yachts and the Regulation on Ship Safety in a manner that yachts and other small crafts, which are operated in the realm of ‚environmental protection, sea-rescue, including observatory missions or for other humanitarian purposes‘, now have to comply with such unreasonable safety requirements, which are not feasible practically (Details on the changes).

This is the BMVI's reaction toward a court case of the previous year, in which Mare Liberum prevailed against the detention of our ship. Under this new set of rules, all ships used for humanitarian purposes are burdened with stringent safety requirements, which are difficult to adhere to, including the architecture, equipment, and crewing of the ships. The boats of the organisations Mare Liberum, Mission Lifeline and RESQSHIP are affected by this law change and cannot now no longer operate, the latter being banned with the fear of enormous fines.

Internal documents of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure  based on an inquiry by FragDenStaat make it clear that the amendment was made with was motivated by alleged "safety considerations", since "a special regulation only for boats used for the observation and rescue of refugees would draw the BMVI into the focus of the general political debate on refugees."

Based on these documents, authors of the Verfassungsblog show how the regulation was changed: There were no requirements for an amendment to the regulation, official constitutional procedural standards were disregarded and the official justification for the amendment was put forward.

"This is not about security, but about racism. A minister of transport who prevents human rights activism and the saving of refugees' lives cannot be acceptable to any government. Against the background of the documents that have been made public, the resignation of Scheuer and the withdrawal of the regulation amendment becomes even more urgent. We consider the regulation to be illegal and will take legal action against it. We have also filed an emergency appeal to be allowed to leave with our ships again and do what Europe should do: We will continue to fight for solidarity and human rights."

Hanno Bruchmann, board member of Mare Liberum.

Mare Liberum will use all political means to fight against these amendments to the regulations. Please support us in this so that we can resume our human right observations at sea in the Aegean as soon as possible.

Mare Liberum i. A.

Gneisenaustraße 2a
10961 Berlin