A refugee rescue ship has been named after Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy whose body washed up on a Turkish beach at the height of the refugee crisis.

Images of Alan’s lifeless body became a symbol of the desperate situation faced by those fleeing conflict.

His name was given to a German rescue ship operated by the charity Sea-Eye.

We’ll tell you what’s true. You can form your own view.

From 15p €0.18 $0.18 USD 0.27 a day, more exclusives, analysis and extras.

The ship was renamed in the presence of Alan’s father, Abdullah Kurdi, and his aunt, Tima Kurdi, in Palma on the Spanish island of Mallorca.

“We are happy that a German rescue ship will carry the name of our boy,” Mr Kurdi said before the naming ceremony. “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.”

Sea-Eye says it has saved more than 14,000 people from drowning in the Mediterranean since it began operations in 2016.

Mr Kurdi and his wife Rehanna, along with their sons Alan and Ghalib, were trying to ultimately reach relatives in Vancouver, Canada, after fleeing the Syrian civil war in 2015.

Their boat to Greece capsized as it left Turkey, killing Mr Kurdi’s wife and two sons. Turkey sentenced two Syrian men to more than four years in prison in connection with the accident.

Support free-thinking journalism and subscribe to Independent Minds

Mr Kurdi, who now lives in Erbil, Iraq, also spoke at the naming ceremony.

“This day is very difficult for me as I have many memories again,” he said. “But I want to support Sea-Eye. I am grateful that the club has chosen the name of my boy.

“They are people with a good heart in this organisation. So the name of my boy stands for something good and his little soul can find peace.”

Carlotta Weibl, a spokesperson for Sea-Eye, said in a statement: “The name ‘Alan Kurdi’ shall be a reminder of what our work is really about. It is not about ships, captains, NGOs and clashes with misguided politicians.

“It is about actual persons, like Alan, Ghalib and Rehanna, who drown in the Mediterranean daily. And it is about the endless pain and grief their loved ones have to feel.”

Comments

Share your thoughts and debate the big issues

Learn more
Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines.
  • You may not agree with our views, or other users’, but please respond to them respectfully
  • Swearing, personal abuse, racism, sexism, homophobia and other discriminatory or inciteful language is not acceptable
  • Do not impersonate other users or reveal private information about third parties
  • We reserve the right to delete inappropriate posts and ban offending users without notification

You can find our Community Guidelines in full here.

Create a commenting name to join the debate

Please try again, the name must be unique Only letters and numbers accepted
Loading comments...
Loading comments...
Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines.
  • You may not agree with our views, or other users’, but please respond to them respectfully
  • Swearing, personal abuse, racism, sexism, homophobia and other discriminatory or inciteful language is not acceptable
  • Do not impersonate other users or reveal private information about third parties
  • We reserve the right to delete inappropriate posts and ban offending users without notification

You can find our Community Guidelines in full here.

Loading comments...
Loading comments...