I'm returning to the Mediterranean Sea to help those most in need of rescue. I am giving all that I can for 2 months at sea off the Libyan coast on the deadliest migration route in the world. I am doing this because I can’t just sit by and not use my skills to help others. I will be spending a month with each NGO (Proactiva and Mission Lifeline) and hopefully saving a lot of lives or giving dignity in death. The rescue operations are conducted in close cooperation with other NGO’s and the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC, Rome) in the sea area between Sicily, Lampedusa and Libya.
More the 2500 people have died this year and over 5000 last year. It is going to be a very hard mission and it’s going to be very confronting. If you can image yourself on a small overloaded boat 50km offshore with no reference point and just a 50% chance of life or death then, you can image what they must be fleeing if that is their hope to freedom and safety. Simply Libya is like a hell on earth.
Last December 16 2016 until 7 January 2017 I became the first Australian Search and Rescue crew member and Lifeguard to join the SOS Mediterranee’s MS Aquarius ship patrol in the Mediterranean sea SAR zone off the coast of Libya on refugee rescue missions. We rescued more than 868 people from the sea and give them dignity and restored their hope. For that mission, I will gave up my Birthday, Christmas with my family, New Years with my friends to be there for refugees in need of compassion and humanitarian aid. What I took from my experience rescuing Syrian Refugees in Lesvos, Greece in early 2016 is that “humanity is seen by many but only actioned by some”. I choose to take action, despite the potential risk this journey poses.
On the 28th of August to the 25th September, I will be with NGO Proactiva on their Open Arms ship based in Malta and operating in the SAR zone. As a Lifeguard on this mission it will be my job to directly help the refugees off the boats or out of the water.
On the 29th of September, I can confirm that I have accepted the role as Head of Mission for rotations 3 and 4 for NGO MISSION LIFELINE e.V. I am very proud to be the first Australian Head of Mission in the Libyan SAR Zone. As Head of Mission I am the person responsible for the ships operation and outcomes. Meaning that the buck stops with me and I have to make hard decisions that will affect lives and impact me for the rest of my life.
No matter what our government policy is, previous donations to the Lesvos mission and the SOS Med Mission have established an Australian legacy of helping rescue refugees in the Mediterranean sea. It is my duty to represent our unique Australian lifesaving and humanitarian skills on an international scale once again. I cannot sit by in the comfort of my home and watch from afar and not use my experience and expertise to continue to help people in need. I have ideas on how to improve the rescues and that's why I'm seeking money to help support operational costs of saving lives. Like the previous gofundme campaigns, I was able to directly show you how we used your money and saved over 3800 lives.
That is a direct impact you will make from any donation. Please Donate here. There are 2 simple steps and it only takes 1.57 seconds. Let's share in humanity together. https://www.gofundme.com/medsea2
Picture: (c) Kevin McElvaney
Thank you so much.