Carola Rackete is a German ship captain who works for the German sea rescue organisation Sea-Watch. Fortune called Rackete the “fresh new face” of the European migrant crisis.
In June of 2019, she was arrested for docking a migrant rescue ship without authorization in the port of Lampedusa, Italy. Her ship picked up 53 migrants in the Mediterranean off the Libyan coast. Sea-Watch 3 rejected an offer to dock at Tripoli, which is considered unsafe by humanitarian organizations, and headed toward Lampedusa. But the next day, Italy closed its ports to migrant rescue ships. Italian interior minister Matteo Salvinirefused to allow the ship to dock until other European nations had agreed to take the migrants whilst ten of the migrants, including children, pregnant women, and those who were ill, were allowed to disembark. In the next weeks, Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Portugal offered to take the migrants. On 29 June, without authorization, Rackete decided to dock.The motivation for this was that, according to her, the passengers were exhausted. Rackete was then arrested by the Italian authorities after docking.