The human rights monitoring ship Mare Liberum is being prevented from leaving port

The human rights monitoring ship Mare Liberum is being prevented from leaving port

Press Release, 29th April 2019

The Berlin based non-governmental organization (NGO) Mare Liberum e.V. conducts human rights monitoring in the Aegean Sea to draw attention to the deadly sea route between Turkey and Greece. The aim is to strengthen solidarity and promote fundamental human rights.

Germany’s Federal Ministry of Transportation (Bundesverkehrsministeriums) sent an order of suspension for the ship Mare Liberum to the German association of traffic and transportation (Berufsgenossenschaft Verkehr)--which handles the registration, licenses and flags for ships--to further scrutinize civil rescue vessels in the Mediterranean Sea. “The ministry of transportation, led by the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU) politician Andreas Scheuer, apparently wants to perfidiously prevent any civil presence in the Mediterranean Sea to document human rights violations and the effects of the European Union’s deadly border policy. We are urging for an accelerated response to repeal the decision,” says Hanno Bruchmann, spokesperson for Mare Liberum e.V.

The suspension order presupposes that Mare Liberum is a rescue ship which should be classified in the same category as commercial freightliner and not, as hitherto customary, as a sport and leisure boat. The crew on Mare Liberum observes--without pay and in their spare time--the human rights situation in the Aegean Sea. With Mare Liberum’s presence on the water, authorities should be more inclined to rescue refugees and migrants and adhere to basic human rights standards while doing so. The ship Mare Liberum was never operated as a freightliner; nevertheless, the authorities incorrectly compare the 1917 built fishing boat which was converted to a houseboat in 1964 as a ship holding containers or tank vessels. The classification of Mare Liberum as a commercial vessel imposes equipment requirements that cannot be fulfilled by Mare Liberum.

“The claim that we operate a freightliner leaves us stunned. It is an insult to our volunteers that our dedication for human rights is not recognized,” said Bruchmann.

contact: press@mare-liberum.org

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