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PTC's Five Best Boats Throughout History - In honour of 'Mit Sicherheit Gut Ankommen'

Last weekend Pass the Crayon attended an event held along the banks of the river Spree, featuring a refugee rescue ship, and 70 copper figurines... This was 'Mit Sicherheit Gut Ankommen', a visionary project which saw artists and refugee initiatives from all over Europe gather together in solidarity with refugees and the welcome culture movement.

The main focus of Mit Sicherheit Gut Ankommen was the celebration of the journey of two ships (first the M/S Anton, and then Al-hadj Djumaa), travelling from Denmark, across the North Sea coast and through Germany, arriving in Berlin for the 'United Nations World Refugee Day'. 70 copper figures from Danish artist Jens Galschiøt were transported on board the vessel, transferring from M/S Anton to Al-hadj Djumaa at Papenburg, Germany. These life-sized bronze-cast figurines, a mixture of men, women and children, provided a bold and powerful representation of refugees in all their forms.

The fundamental idea behind this ambitious nomadic project was to encourage the public to engage with the topic of 'escape and migration' in a different way. The project is based on the Declaration of Norderneyer ('Norderneyer Eklarung'), with special focus on the plight of children and young families. It emphasizes the importance of developing bilateral solutions to the issues facing refugees, and stresses the need for discussion at a European level.

In addition to the journey on water, a parallel land-based voyage also took place, with the whole convoy stopping at regular intervals to host meetings, performances and exhibitions in their community Yurt and stage area, and also providing the opportunity for members of the public to go on board, view the statues and chat to the crew. These mini-festivals have attracted thousands of people, and featured the participation of artists and creative organisations, local and international non-profits and refugee initiatives, including Pass the Crayon, who hosted art sessions in the Yurt on Friday and Saturday (check out Babi Paul's article about PTC's sessions here!)

So in celebration of this wonderful creative project, we present to you Pass The Crayon's Five Best Boats Throughout History. Our five fave boats are all vessels that have been involved in some form of altruism, whether it be humanitarian, conservation or wildlife activism. None of the boats that we have chosen are affiliated with any specific government, army or cooperation. By choosing these boats, we are endorsing the whole ethos and spirit of the boat-- and crucially, the crew and captain who give the ship it's purpose. By awarding these boats, we are implicitly awarding the entire crew and organisations behind these ships and the work that they do. Enjoy! xoxo

1. M/S Anton and Al-hadj Djumaa

Having been on board the Al-Hadj Djumaa only a few days ago, it is fitting to award this boat (along with it's brother the M/S Anton) our top spot!

The M/S Anton is a typical Danish fishing cutter from 1948, owned by the socio-environmental initiative, Levende Hav. Since 2010, the M/S Anton has ported in approximately 40 Danish harbors, and to date, more than 100,000 people have seen the M/S Anton and her figurines, encouraging public debate and deeper thought.

The Al-hadj Djumaa, picks up the torch for the final leg of the pilgrimage, it's size and build making it more suitable for inland navigation. The Al-hadj Djumaa is owned by Rederij Lampedusa, a non- profit organization located in Amsterdam, who offer canal rides thematically focused on flight and forced expulsions. In the summer of 2013, she came with 217 Eritreans and 65 Ethiopians from Egypt and was confiscated by the Italian Coast Guard off the coast of Lampedusa.

Here are some pictures that I took while I was on board the Al-hadj Djumaa:

Collectively these two vessels have travelled a distance of over 1000 kilometers over the course of two months, and represent an essential component of 'Mit Sicherheit Gut Ankommen'.


I had the pleasure of listening to the founder of Jugend Rettet e.V, Titus MolkenBur only last week at 'Innovation Knows no Borders' (read my report here). In his speech, Titus described his work on board his rescue ship the IUVENTA- currently operating in the Mediterranean Sea, answering distress calls and saving thousands of migrants who are attempting the perilous journey. Titus saw the humanitarian crisis that was unfolding in the Mediterranean, and the lack of response from the coastal authorities, so he took matters into his own hands, raising money for a boat, finding volunteers and setting off to sea. Jugend Rettet and similar initiatives are currently at loggerheads with EU governmental forces, who are seeking to completely shut down the 'humanitarian corridor' from Libya to Italy.​ To date, the IUVENTA has saved over 14,000 migrants from the Mediterranean sea.

3. The Rainbow Warrior

The Rainbow Warrior (Greenpeace's flagship) was actually bombed and destroyed in 1985, killing one Greenpeace activist in the process. This was a tragic and deeply poignant moment in time, which has endured in the collective memory of all wildlife campaigners - a symbol of the terrible age-old conflict between activists fighting to protect nature, and private business and governments fighting to protect their investments.

Since the bombing, the Rainbow Warrior has had two resurrections, with the latest RW3 manufactured to be one of the most energy-efficient, cutting-edge conservation ships in the world - primarily wind-powered, state-of-the-art on-board laboratories, an international communications hub, and speeds equaling that of commercial vessels.

She rides the waves, on the frontline of environmental activism, helping put a stop to harmful and illegal fishing, nuclear testing, mining, and environmental destruction. Keep on fighting the good fight!

4. Sea Shepherd

Kind of a controversial one, but Sea Shepherd makes our list because um.. THEY SAVE WHALES.

Co-founder of Greenpeace, Paul Watson, became frustrated by the sluggish and inherently meek nature of conventional environmental campaigning (e.g peaceful protest marches, political lobbying etc). He opted for a more direct form of activism... ramming whaling boats! Thus Sea Shepherd was born.

Re-branded under the term 'scientific research' Japan continues to hunt and kill whales and other marine species, despite international laws banning these deeply inhumane practices. Enter, Sea Shepherd, who follow, intercept and engage with these ships, in the middle of the ocean, fighting to save the whales from slaughter.

(There are certain scenes and images in this video that some will find distressing)

Sea Shepherd's missions are dangerous; their boat (by the same name) is much smaller than the gigantic whaling death ships, and sometimes it is surrounded by the whaling ships and rammed, or fired upon with water canons and gunfire. But Sea Shepherd will never stop, and to date has prevented thousands of illegal and barbaric marine massacres, including the killing of endangered species of whale, dolphin, shark and sea turtle. It has managed to sabotage countless illegal whaling missions, and even sunk a few boats in the process! These marine conservation guerrillas take action, and save lives. You go Glenn Coco!

5. A rubber dinghy (owned by Steffan Williams)

8-year-old hero, Steffan Williams saved five people from a dangerous stretch of coastline in the space of two days... in a rubber dinghy! Steffan spotted three tourists, and later two teenage boys all stranded on a particularly tricksome rock, all desperately shouting for help. Brave Steffan (who was in a kayak) calmly fetched his dinghy and then towed them all to shore. A great example of how we can all make a difference in our normal lives- you don't have to be part of an organisation, or even an adult!

And before we go....

We hope you agree with our choices for Top Five Best Boats. Our choices are just a selection of hundreds of very award-worthy vessels. If you think we have missed out any boats that should have really been on the list, then please leave your suggestions below!

(Soz Barbosa, Black Pearl didn't make the cut.)

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