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SOS Mediterranee declaration on the departure of #Aquarius

The Aquarius is heading back to sea and we pledge to support her mission. We are #onboardAquarius.

Originally published by SOS Mediterranee.

Note: Enough is Enough is not organizing any of these events, we are publishing this text for people across the US and Europe to be able to see what is going on and for documentation only.

Since early June 2018, with humanitarian ships being prevented from saving lives in the rescue zone off the Libyan coast, at least 717 people have drowned in the Central Mediterranean (figures from IOM-International Organization for Migration – on July 19th).

The Aquarius, the ship chartered by the European rescue organization SOS MEDITERRANEE, is returning to sea because people continue to die attempting to escape the Libyan hell. The Aquarius is resuming her mission because rescuing people is the duty, responsibility and purpose of all ships and crews in the Central Mediterranean. However, today, the ships dedicated to search and rescue of boats in distress are fewer than ever.

The Aquarius is sailing back into international waters off the coast of Libya because this is her right. The aid she can, and always has, provided is efficient, professional and humane. 

Some people have argued that the Aquarius is complicit in the humanitarian tragedy that has been unfolding in the Mediterranean for far too long. That is simply not correct: the Aquarius’ one and only objective is to save lives at sea; to prevent men, women and children from drowning. All her actions are guided by one single imperative anchored in international maritime law: to help people at risk of dying in international waters as best and as quickly as possible and to bring them to a place of safety, where their basic needs are met and their rights protected and guaranteed.

As she has consistently done in the past, the Aquarius continues to be committed to always coordinating her actions with the relevant maritime authorities. She also commits once again to follow all instructions regarding rescue, in respect of the applicable international maritime conventions.

In all circumstances, she is bound by and will refer to her duty to assist.  

In practice this means that when (made) aware of a boat in distress and even when the competent maritime authority should order the Aquarius not to approach the scene and provide assistance, the Aquarius can only comply with these instructions of non-assistance if she can ascertain that all other available means/assets are deployed to save the people in danger and bring them to a place of safety.

Similarly, should the Aquarius be instructed to wait while there is a boat in imminent danger and the Aquarius finds herself in a position to save people from drowning, she will not wait.

Finally, should the Aquarius be instructed to disembark the rescued people in a Libyan port or to transfer them onto a ship that would return them to the situation they are fleeing from, the Aquarius will always refuse. Libya cannot be considered a safe place.

The Aquarius is heading back to sea

The Aquarius has become a symbol of maritime solidarity. She is the eyes and the ears of citizens who, like her, consider that at sea and on land, rescuing and helping those in danger prevails over all other considerations.

While these days this fundamental and well-recognized principle is called into question on the shores of the Central Mediterranean, the Aquarius fully commits to publicise everything that she witnesses at sea and to denounce anything that contradicts the rules for rescue at sea and other applicable international standards defined by international maritime conventions and others several decades ago.

The Aquarius is heading back to sea.
We are #onboardAquarius.


The signatories: here.

Mutual aid: Support refugees in Bosnia

Two people of the Enough is Enough team joined the Cars of Hope collective in Bosnia to work together with refugees to provide mutual aid and to produce independent border monitoring reports from the Bosnian/Croatian border. Read our reports from Bosnia: here.

We urgently need financial support to maintain the supplies for refugees and to be able to keep on building emergency shelters.

Please donate for food, tents and other things for everyday life.

The Cars of Hope bank account details:

Bank: Volksbank in Bergisches Land

Account holder: Hopetal e.V.

Description: Cars of Hope

IBAN: DE51 3406 0094 0002 9450 87


Mutual Aid: Support Refugees in Bosnia

Support the work with refugees in Bosnia.



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