Brothers Benjamin, Raphael and Gerson spent a long weekend with their father in the fall of 2019. Raphael, who had had enough of his job as a ship mechanic with the water police, was looking for a tugboat to start his own business.
When he showed this ship to his brothers one evening during this vacation, the tide turned: “It looks like a rescue ship to me!” – That was the first reaction. The idea was quickly taken further and the three of them agreed: We have to at least try. After trying to contact the German sea rescue NGOs, Mission Lifeline reported back very quickly. Contrary to expectations, they did not refuse: “Have a proper look at the ship, then get in touch.
After the ship had been put through its paces, it was clear: Mission Lifeline was getting on board. The ship was purchased and a joint project plan was developed. The aim is to convert the ship into a sea rescue vessel within six months and send it to the Mediterranean.
From that moment on, we did everything we could to turn the old naval vessel into a suitable sea rescue vessel as quickly as possible.
Countless volunteers, professionals, companies and foundations gave us the support we so urgently needed. This support cannot be taken for granted.
An amendment to the Ship Safety Ordinance (Schiffssicherheitsverordnung) enacted the following March massively restricted associations in civil sea rescue. Disproportionately increased construction requirements and complex approval procedures prevented our ship from setting sail in May as planned.
This more than doubled the cost of the conversion work and also made the planned operations significantly more expensive.
We saw this as an attack on our solidarity, which we were not prepared to accept.
End of the cooperation
In spring 2021, the board of Mission Lifeline decided that none of our association members were suitable to be part of the first mission. We could not agree with this assessment and regretted not being able to be part of this mission.
These differences led us to the decision to end the cooperation with the completion of the conversion and to send the Rise Above into the field without us.
The ship has been in operation since the fall of 2021, helping to save lives in the central Mediterranean.