ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A German migrant rescue ship which operates in the Mediterranean Sea was renamed on Sunday after Alan Kurdi, a three-year-old Syrian Kurdish refugee whose body washed up on a Turkish shore in Sep. 2015, sparking global outrage.
A special ceremony for the renaming of the ship was held in Palma, in Spain’s Balearic Island of Mallorca, with Alan’s father, Abdullah Kurdi, and aunt, Tima Kurdi, attending the special event. It was organized by the Germany charity Sea-Eye, which operates the boat.
“We are happy that a German rescue ship will carry the name of our boy. My boy on the beach must never be forgotten. Our grief for the loss of my wife and sons is shared by many, by thousands of families who have so tragically lost sons and daughters this way,” Abdullah Kurdi said in a statement released by Sea-Eye, quoted by AFP.
The tragic incident involving Alan [also spelled Aylan] Kurdi occurred on Sept. 2, 2015, after the family fled from the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani to Turkey. Alan’s father had paid a smuggler to transfer his family from Turkey to Greece to later move to Canada and reunite with Tima, who lives there as a refugee.
The journey across the Mediterranean ended in tragedy after their boat sank offshore. Eleven refugees died, among them were Abdullah Kurdi’s wife Rehanna and their two young boys, Ghalib and Alan.
Photos of Alan, wearing a red T-shirt, blue shorts, and black shoes, laying face-down as he washed up on shore caused international outrage. The international community then believed more should be done to protect migrants who undertake risky and dangerous journeys crossing the sea from North Africa and the Middle East to Europe.
Sea-Eye has saved more than 14,000 people from drowning in the Mediterranean in more than 60 missions since it began operating in 2016.
Editing by Nadia Riva