The ship selected to become Jugend Rettet’s active contribution to Maritime Search and Rescue in the Central Mediterranean Sea was acquired in May 2016, converted and refitted by the tremendous effort of many volunteers for her new task and christened IUVENTA.

Originally the 33m long IUVENTA was designed as a fishing vessel for the rough and frequently hostile conditions of the North Sea. Redundant features can be found throughout the ship such as two auxiliary engines and design elements of the main engine that ensure continuous operation even in the roughest conditions.

The once large deck spaces for working fishing gear was decluttered in the conversion to allow the accommodation of up to 100 rescued persons. Tarpaulins can be arranged to either protect the deck space from the sun or provide shelter from wind and rain. In normal rescue operations the crew complement is between 11-13 persons.

Two fast rescue boats (RHIBS) are stored on the main deck which are launched by means of a hydraulic telescopic crane which as replaced for a better model in 2017.

Typically for a fishing vessel the freeboard is remarkably low for handling nets which gives two advantages: first, it allows easy launch and recovery of the two rescue boats; second, rescued boats can be taken alongside and persons embarked quickly in a safe manner.

However, on the 1st of August, the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) ordered the IUVENTA to Lampedusa. Subsequently, it was seized by Italian authorities. The day before, we refused to sign the so-called Code of Conduct of the Italian government, which would have forced us to break international maritime law. Currently, the Iuventa is still impounded.

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