Life-jacket graveyard at Lesbos‘ North shore

In the hills near the Greek town of Molyvos ten-thousands of life-jackets paint a picture of what migration looks like at the European border. Almost all of them are so-called „fake life-jackets“, sold in Turkey for around €10. They are filled with layers of plastic material that allows them to float for a short while, before they soak up and become an additional weight for people after capsizing. These jackets are often the only ones refugees can afford, especially when they need multiple attempts to cross the Aegean. The worst jackets are those for children. They are plastic jackets for swimming pools, not meant to be used on a boat, with a written warning: „Will not protect against drowning.“ Many people trying to come to Europe cannot swim. In an emergency, these fake life-jackets are their only hope. Creating safe migration routes for refugees seeking asylum is possible – but the European Union has chosen not to. Mare Liberum will set sail soon, hoping to make the Aegean Sea a little less deadly.

Photos: Mare Liberum/Dylan Lebecki & David Fischer

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