Onboard the Ocean Viking – Guillaume’s Journal: “Winter pushes the risk towards fatality. That’s why we are here.”

Guillaume is an SOS MEDITERRANEE rescuer currently onboard the Ocean Viking for his second mission. He tells us about his daily life and work on board.

“There was Taranto on December 23, to disembark the rescued people; and to stretch out our legs. There was Christmas and New Year’s celebrations. José and Juan Paolo, the two cooks of the crew, set up the banquet and we did like Asterix and Obelix did at their home with the wild boars. No matter the port, no matter the sea we were in, we were a family. The days unfolded in the disorder of the waves so that I no longer knew which ones had passed and which ones are yet to come. There was a wooden boat, devoid of people. And then there was a Libyan coast guard boat en-route to Libya; full of people. There were trawlers; what did they fish? The weather of these days; bad, an additional boundary for those who wish to flee from it. Winter pushes the risk towards fatality. That’s why we are here.

The Sea-Watch 3 ship (of the German NGO Sea Watch) has been able to go back at sea on December 30 and is also currently patrolling in this gigantic puddle that is the Central Mediterranean. From the first lights of the sun to the last ones, we continue the visual lookouts shifts on the bridge. Mine takes place from 8:25 am to 9:25 am each morning. I stick my eye sockets on the lenses to breathe in the binoculars following the rhythm of a sloth. The waves are styled unanimously with white crests. There are fringes of sunshine coming down between the clouds to cool their feet. The ship’s radar shows red, yellow or blue depending on the thickness of the rain showers. Far away, on the horizon, I perceive smokes of shipwrecks.”

Photo by Laurence Bondard/SOS MEDITERRANEE

About Guillaume

Guillaume is a 33-year-old French member of the SOS MEDITERRANEE team onboard the Ocean Viking. Before becoming a seafarer, Guillaume worked in paramedical centres for rehabilitation through sports for physically or mentally ill people. He believes this experience gave him the opportunity to get close to people in need, to feel their sensitivities, understand and help them. In the past two years he has been a seafarer and a skipper working on charter boats and delivering sailing boats across the Atlantic. Aside from this, he also had different professional fishing experiences as well as sailing traditional ringing sailing boats in Brittany and Normandy, which he did until he joined SOS MEDITERRANEE in 2019. Guillaume became part of the Search and Rescue team on the fourth mission of the Ocean Viking in November 2019.