Sea Eye


This is the story of 8 volunteers who decided to spend 2 weeks on a rescue ship off the lybian coasts and help refugee boats in distress. They travel on an old and rusty fishing ship, their equipment is limited and they don’t always have an experience at sea.


This photo reportage was shot in October 2016 on the Sea Eye , a former fishing boat buitl in earli 60's and now rescuing refugees off the lybian coasts in the Mediterranean Sea. 


Compared to other NGO vessels also active in the area, the Sea Eye runs on a low budget, old equipment and crews made of non professional volunteers alternating on 2 week long missions at sea. 


Nevertheless, the Sea Eye is respected by other NGO ships in the lybian area as despite its weaknesses it is playing a significant role by rescuing refugees and saving lives.

Video and sound as Sea Eye is approaching an other rescue ship, the Aquarius, to exchange some rescuing material such as life vests, October 2016

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Le Sea Eye et des gilets de sauvetage en train de sécher à Malte, quelques heures avant le départ, 07Life jackets drying up in Malta dock a few hours before departure of the Sea Eye, 07/10/16 - © Raphaël Fournier / Divergence

Sea Eye during a stop over in Malta with life jackets drying up in docks a few hours before departure, 07/10/16

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Le Sea Eye au large de la Lybie, 13/10/16 - The Sea Eye off lybian coasts, 13/10/16 - © Raphaël Fournier / Divergence

Sea Eye off lybian coasts, in the Gulf of Sirte. The ex-fishing boat cost Sea Eye NGO 30,000€ including refurbishment and has been rescuing in The Med sea since April 2016, 13/07/16

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Manuela aux jumelles, 09/10/16 - Manuela watching through binoculars, 09/10/16 - © Raphaël Fournier / Divergence

Manuela, ex-police officer, watching through binoculars as most refugee boats cannot be seen through the radar system, 09/10/16

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Jens, le cuisinier, préparant le petit-déjeuner, 06/10/16 - Jens, the cook, getting english breakfast ready, 06/10/16 - © Raphaël Fournier / Divergence

Jens, the cook on board (a social worker on land), getting english breakfast ready. Food is a significant parameter to optimize long journeys at sea, 06/10/16

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Ingo en train de pêcher et Thomas en pleine lecture sur le pont arrière, 10/10/16 - Ingo fishing and Thomas reading at the rear deck table, 10/10/16 - © Raphaël Fournier / Divergence

Ingo fishing and Thomas reading on the rear deck. Personal activities and finding his/her own space are encouraged during long rescue missions in order to counterbalance the lack of privacy, 10/10/16

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Le Zodiac de l'Aquarius (MSF et SOS Méditérranée) en approche pour redonner au Sea Eye ses gilets de sauvetage, alors que le bateau de MSF avait emmené en Sicile la semaine précédente des réfugiés secourus par le Sea Eye et donc portant ses gilets de sauv
The Aquarius (Médecins Sans Frontières, SOS Méditerranée) zodiac approaching to give life jackets back to the Sea Eye as the week before, the MSF ship had shuttled refugees to Sicily as they had been rescued by the Sea Eye and wearing Sea Eye's life jackets, 10/10/16
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A 16 h ce jour-là, le capitaine a éteint les moteurs pour donner à tous (sauf ceux de quart) 2 heures de repos. Ici, Manuela sautant du bateau, 10/10/16 - At 4pm on that day our captain turned the engine off and gave a 2 hour break to everyone, except tho
During a break, here Manuela jumping off Sea Eye, 10/10/16
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Hannes se reposant dans son hamack, 10/10/16 - Hannes taking a nap in his hamock, 10/10/16 - © Raphaël Fournier / Divergence

Hannes, the Captain, although he is the youngest in the crew, taking a nap in his hamock before his evening shift. All crew members have to do 2 shifts of 3 hours every 12 hours, 10/10/16

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Carsten et Manuela se préparant à donner des gilets de sauvetage à l'Astral, un bateau de l'ONG espagnole Proactiva Open Arms, 10/10/16 - Carsten and Manuela getting ready to give back life jackets belonging to spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms ship, the As

Carsten, financial controller, and Manuela getting ready to give back life jackets belonging to spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms ship, the Astral, 10/10/16

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Le Zodiac de l'Astral (ONG espagnole Proactiva Open Arms) quittant le Sea Eye avec des gilets de sauvetage, 10/10/16 - Astral zodiac leaving with the life jackets, 10/10/16 - © Raphaël Fournier / Divergence

Astral zodiac leaving Sea Eye with life jackets, 10/10/16

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Thomas fumant un cigare sur le pont arrière, 10/10/16 - Thomas smoking a cigar on the rear deck, 10/10/16 - © Raphaël Fournier / Divergence

Thomas smoking a cigar at dusk on the rear deck, 10/10/16

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Hannes (gauche) et Jens déjeunant sur le pouce dans la cuisine, 11/10/16 - Hannes and Jens having a quick lunch in the kitchen, 11/10/16 - © Raphaël Fournier / Divergence

Hannes (left) and Jens (right) having a quick lunch in the kitchen, 11/10/16

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Jens faisant une sieste après le déjeuner, 11/10/16 - Jens sleeping after lunch, 11/10/16 - © Raphaël Fournier / Divergence

Jens sleeping after lunch, 11/10/16

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Dieter préparant l'espace Hôpital, peu de temps avant une opération de sauvetage sur un bateau de réfugiés, 11/10/16 - Dieter getting the hospiotal area ready, right before an intervention on a refugee boat, 11/10/16 - © Raphaël Fournier / Divergence

Dieter, who sells electric spare parts for a living, is getting the hospital area ready, right before a rescue operation on a refugee boat. The Sea Eye is not equipped for medical assistance and has no medic onboard, 11/10/16

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Des membres de l'équipage (de gauche à droite, Hilde, Ingo et Carsten) préparant le Zodiac juste avant l'arrivée sur une zone d'intervention, 11/10/16 - The crew getting the zodiac ready before arriving on the intervention zone, 11/10/16 - © Raphaël Fourn

The crew getting the zodiac ready before arriving on a rescue operation zone, 11/10/16

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Mise à l'eau du Zodiac par l'équipage peu avant une opération de sauvetage sur un bateau de réfugiés, 11/10/16 - The crew is putting the zodiac at sea for the intervention, 11/10/16 - © Raphaël Fournier / Divergence

The crew putting the zodiac at sea for an upcoming rescue operation, 11/10/16

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Un bateau de réfugiés en provenance de Lybie et un Zodiac de sauveteurs du Vos Hestia, un bateau de l'ONG Save The Children, leur tendant des gilets de sauvetage, 11/10/16 - A refugee boat from Lybia and a zodiac from Vos Hestia (Save the Children) handin

A refugee boat from Lybia and a zodiac from Vos Hestia (NGO Save the Children) handing them life jackets. Vos Hestia was coordinating the operation as it arrived first on the zone, 11/10/16

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Hannes sur le pont alors qu'il essaie de gérer dans des conditions climatiques difficiles le repérage d'un bateau de réfugiés signalé non loin de la position du Sea Eye, 12/10/16 - Hannes on the bridge getting annoyed by rough weather conditions as a rubb
Hannes on the bridge getting annoyed by rough weather conditions as a rubber boat was spotted in the area. It will be rescued by the Juventa, an other german rescue boat, 12/10/2016
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Jens sur le pont et prêt à intervenir alors qu'un bateau de réfugiés a été signalé au Sea Eye dans ses environs par d'autres bateaux ainsi que par le MRCC Rome (Maritime Rescue Call Center), 14/10/16 - Jens on the deck as Sea Eye is looking for one or two
Jens on the deck as Sea Eye is looking for one or two rubber boats spotted in the area by other rescue boats and the MRCC Rome (Maritime Rescue and Coordination Center), 14/10/16
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Carsten sur le pont et s'apprêtant à manoeuvrer la grue pour mettre le Zodiac à l'eau alors qu'un bateau de réfugiés a été signalé dans les environs du Sea Eye par d'autres bateaux ainsi que par le MRCC Rome (Maritime Rescue Call Center), 14/10/16 - Carst
Carsten on the deck and getting ready to manoeuvre the crane to get the zodiac at sea, as Sea Eye is looking for one or two rubber boats spotted in the area by other rescue boats and the MRCC Rome (Maritime Rescue and Coordination Center), 14/10/16
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Ingo aidant à mettre le Zodiac à l'eau alors q'un bateau de réfugiés a été signalé dans les environs, 14/10/16 - Ingo helping to maneuvre the zodiac out, 14/10/16 - © Raphaël Fournier / Divergence

Ingo helping to put the zodiac out at sea, 14/10/16

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L'équipage du Zodiac pendant un exercice consistant à transporter des gilets de sauvetage aux personnes à bord d'un bateau sur le point de couler, 13/10/16 - The Zodiac crew during an exercise consisting in carrying life jackets to a sinking boat, 13/10/1

The Zodiac crew during an exercise consisting in carrying life jackets to a potentially sinking boat, 13/10/16

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Un Zodiac peu de temps après que ses 138 passagers ont été secourus par le Juventa, un autre bateau de sauvetage allemand - A rubber boat after its 138 passengers were rescued by the Juventa, a german rescue boat, 14/10/16 - © Raphaël Fournier / Divergenc

A rubber boat after its 138 passengers were rescued by the Juventa, a german rescue boat, 14/10/16

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Jens remontant à bord du Sea Eye pendant un exercice consistant à transporter des gilets de sauvetage aux personnes à bord d'un bateau sur le point de couler, 13/10/16 - Jens coming back onboard Sea Eye during an exercise consisting in carrying life jacke

Jens coming back onboard Sea Eye during an exercise consisting in carrying life jackets to a potentially sinking boat, 13/10/16

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A cause de prévisions météo difficiles sur plusieurs jours et notre réservoir d'eau douce vide, le Sea Eye reprend la direction de Malte après 11 jours de mer, 16/11/16 - Due to rough weather and a lack of drinking water onboard, See Eye is heading back t

Due to rough weather and  the lack of drinking water onboard, Sea Eye is heading back to Malta after 11 days at sea, 16/10/16

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