Christian von Borries for SOS MEDITERRANEE
please stay calm
s’il vous plaît restez calme
bitte bleiben sie ruhig
يرجى التزام الهدوء
We’ve been on the Aquarius, SOS MEDITERRANEE’s rescue ship, for a couple of days now. We set out from Bremerhaven and are heading towards the Mediterranean.
The crew consists of men from conflict-torn countries – from former Soviet republics, to countries in Africa and Southeast Asia. And then there are three Western Europeans from SOS MEDITERRANEE; Matthias, Patrick and myself. Matthias is preparing the large common room for the rescued and the infirmary of Doctors of the World, which is going to be installed in Marseille. Patrick is a photographer, who plans not only to document the three months of the rescue operation near Lampedusa, but like me, wishes to take part in the SAR (Search and Rescue) operations.
At the moment the ship is circling west of the English Channel off the French coast awaiting a storm before it we continue towards Biscay tomorrow. The sea’s swell is inconceivable, waves are already 20 feet high! It jolts and pulls the vessel especially built for rescue operations. I can only imagine what this might feel like, if you are less protected on the open sea – no satellite dish, radar, GPS or radio.
On television we mostly watch Russian programs – but as far as the eye can see, there are images of people fleeing from deserts, from war and poverty. Looking at the sea, which itself is not a habitat for people, without seasons, only wind and salt, the contrast could not be greater.
Meanwhile Stormy Soup is served in the mess (as the dining room is called on board).
We talk about what pictures can evoke, what one can and should do, watching the images on TV. This is perhaps the most important mission at the moment – considering the type of documentation and message to be spread by SOS MEDITERRANEE.
More to follow.