It is Matthias’s first time on the Aquarius. He usually works as a seafarer in Kiel, Germany.
I wanted to be a seafarer for as long as I can remember. I joined SOS Med because at this point in time it is an important and the right thing to do. The Mediterranean has already become a mass grave and I want to do my part to minimize the tragedy. I consider myself privileged, seeing the standard of living I enjoy and I want to give something back, share it with others in ways I can. Captain Schmidt was my teacher at the seafarer school in Travemünde, and he drew my attention to the search and rescue missions in the Mediterranean. He told me that SOS Med was currently looking for people to join their mission, so I applied.
The most shocking thing I came across during my time on board was to see the children and pregnant women we rescued from these rubber boats. It pains me that they do not have any other option than to put themselves and their children in danger by crossing the Mediterranean. In general, it was the children that were a huge motivating factor for me to come here. No child has a say in political and religious matters and they do not decide where they grow up. No child should make that journey. No children deserve to fear for their lives at sea. The people we rescue belong to the most vulnerable groups and to help and support them is important to me.
I think what we are doing here, what SOS Med is doing here, is the right thing to do. It is badly needed. We need even more organisations of this kind. And we need public support for our work. People in Europe should show more empathy for people fleeing for their lives and also show more support for search and rescue missions. I hope that I can reach out to more people back home, to other seafarers to then join SOS Med, or other organisations in the effort to save lives.