Carola Rackete

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Carola Rackete (born 8 May 1988 in Preetz, Germany) is a German ship captain who works for the German sea rescue organisation Sea-Watch. In June of 2019, she was arrested for docking a migrant rescue ship without authorization in the port of Lampedusa, Italy.

Captain Carola Rackete aboard Sea-Watch 3 in Malta (2019)


  • I have decided to enter the port of Lampedusa. I know what I'm risking, but the 42 rescued people are exhausted. I'm taking them to safety now ... I feel a moral obligation'... Their lives come before any political game... I have white skin, I was born in a rich country, I have the right passport, I was allowed to attend three universities, and I graduated at the age of 23... I feel a moral obligation to help those people who did not have the foundations that I did.
  • Some claim I "profit" personally from volunteering for sea rescue. Here's how I profit: By knowing that stepping up for the human rights of others I am ultimately defending everybody's rights - incl my own. No one is free until we are all free. #BlackLifesMatter
  • I felt that we had to be not only to rescue at sea, but also as a sign of resistance to the structural racism of Europeans Authorities. This is as much a problem in the EU as in the USA... The whole concept of this agency is to enforce the racist border policy of the European states... a deeply problematic narrative...[that deprives] the rescued of the limelight... It is not necessary for a white woman to take the stage as the supposed 'voice of the voiceless'.
  • It's absolutely correct that climate and environmental movements should focus on systemic change and not on bamboo toothbrushes. It's mainly governments who control energy infrastructure. And yes governments should support community-owned energy initiatives.
  • There are people who seriously think sea rescue activists like me rescue Black lives because we hate white people. Some white people feel personally threatened by the fact that human rights apply to everyone equally. White priviledge needs to end if we want justice, ever.
  • It's our *white* responsibility to make sure people who speak out about racism are safe at all times. This means ending structural racism in our societies, authorities and media.


  • In Germany, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called for a "swift clarification" of the charges against Rackete. "Saving lives is a humanitarian duty," he said. "Sea rescues must not be outlawed." The leader of The Left party, Katja Kipping, posted on Twitter that she was "full of respect" for Rackete and the crew. Green Party leader Robert Habeck said Rackete's arrest showed the nefariousness of the Italian government, adding in comments to the RND group of local newspapers that the "real scandal is the drownings that occur in the Mediterranean, the lack of legal escape routes and a lack of a distribution system in Europe." The commissioner for refugees in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, Stefan Schmidt, a former sea rescue worker, expressed his solidarity. "I admire Ms. Rackete because to keep your cool under these conditions and be a pillar of support for the refugees on board is anything but easy," he told the dpa news agency.
  • According to Rackete, the desperation of those on board was enormous and this was what ultimately convinced her to enter the port of Lampedusa. She said some on board were considering jumping off the ship. Several migrants were brought ashore in a state of "medical emergency."... Who is this 31-year-old woman willing to go into a David vs. Goliath battle with the Italian government? Rackete has captained the Sea-Watch 3 since 2018 and has worked for the organization for four years. The skipper trained as a nautical officer and completed a Master's degree in Conservation Management at Edge Hill University in Ormskirk, England. She has also worked for the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research and was active in Greenpeace. Rackete has commanded a handful of Sea-Watch operations, picking up 45 bodies floating in the sea from a shipwreck during one of her first missions.
  • The German “Sea Watch” captain has accused EU authorities of racism in the area of ​​migration policy. On the anniversary of her unauthorized entry with migrants on board into an Italian port... Rackete entered the port of Lampedusa on June 29 last year with 40 migrants on board, although the government in Rome had banned it. She was arrested temporarily..... That she and other rescuers were portrayed as heroes was "a deeply problematic narrative," said Rackete... She didn't want to be the center of attention.

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