6. November 2016
The end of a three-week rotation is always a peculiar moment. “Port of call” means new people coming, and some others leaving. The AQUARIUS arrived in Catania on Thursday 3rd of November and left only this Sunday morning. During the past four days, there has been a huge back and forth of new faces on the ship. On the yellow painted “Gangway Desk”, the visitor’s book was suddenly filled with names of engineers and workers; of visitors from the SOS MEDITERRANEE Palermo Conference who drove to Catania to come and meet us and see the ship; of friends curious to see how we live aboard the AQUARIUS, but also of newcomers of all crews…
After three weeks at sea, working and living with the same crew – that quickly becomes a real family – meeting new people on the boat is on the one hand a breath of fresh air, but on the other hand somehow hard… Of course we are all thrilled to get to meet the new volunteers of the rescue team, to show them around the ship – and observe them getting lost in the corridors –, but we are also deeply sad to say goodbye to some members of the AQUARIUS family. Ed, Alex, Ralph, David, Rebecca have just left the ship for a deserved break or vacation. Some will soon be back, some later, some maybe not… But on the IN and OUT board outside, their tag is still there, as if they were just out in town for dinner. “Together for rescue”, is indeed not only a hashtag, it is our special bond aboard the AQUARIUS. A family for rescue.
Now, the new rotation has officially started and we are back at sea, hurrying to the SAR Zone. During the past days, thousands of people have been rescued in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coasts of Libya. Although it is already November, sadly the arrivals show no sign of decrease and the whole new team is getting prepared for intense days ahead.
Text: Mathilde Auvillain
Photo: Susanne Friedel