EU Migrant Crisis: Life and Death on Europe’s Waters

The refugee and migrant crisis engulfing Europe is one of the most important and complex issues of our time. Over the last few weeks, two news items bring home the humanity of the overwhelming situation: a birth – and the death of a child – at sea.

 For the past few months, Kemplon Engineering has been following Europe’s escalating refugee and migrant crisis on our blog (see related articles, “Europe’s Migrant ‘Ghost’ Ships;” “A Cruise Ship for Refugee Aid in Greece;” and “EU To Spend More On Mediterranean Search and Rescue Ops”).

This is, without a doubt, one of the most important humanitarian issues of our time. Hundreds of thousands of people from Africa and the Middle East are trying to flee wars or poverty in their homes and risking dangerous and all-too-often fatal sea journeys to Europe in hopes of finding a better life. ‘Gateway’ countries like Greece and Italy are struggling financially with rescuing and processing the new arrivals. There is tension among European countries on how much responsibility should be shared, and there are increasing feelings of being overrun and xenophobia in some segments of the European populace.

It is a tragedy of epic proportions and it continues to unfold. Just between January and July of this year, there have been about 340,000 illegal entries into the EU; 300,000 dangerous Mediterranean Sea crossings have been estimated so far in 2015; and 2,500 migrants are reportedly dead or missing on the perilous water crossing this year alone. Also on the uptick are illegal land crossings, and asylum claims to EU states which now number at over half a million.

One of those fortunate to have made a successful water crossing was 33-year-old Rahma, a pregnant Somali migrant rescued on the Mediterranean Sea by German naval vessel Schleswig Holstein. She gave birth on the ship to a baby girl named Sophia, who may well be the first baby born on a ship of the German navy. It is a cinematic and hopeful end to Rahma’s 5-month long journey.

Rahma’s story is just one of millions. The numbers of displaced people, refugees and migrants are so large they are almost unimaginable – until the shocking images of a 3-year-old Syrian boy named Aylan Kurdi, facedown on the shores of Turkey after drowning while trying to reach Greece, brought home the reality and humanity of the situation.

Aylan Kurdi, along with his father, mother and five year-old brother Galip had fled Kobane in Syria and were trying to make their way to Kos in Greece via an overcrowded rubber dinghy. The dinghy capsized in rough waters, and now the family is survived only by the father. The image became a rallying cry all over the world for more proactive humanitarian action to bring aid to refugees and migrants. Governments are being pressured by their constituents to do more, and ordinary citizens have opened up their wallets and donated to aid groups at record rates following the circulation of the heartbreaking photograph.

With renewed public and political vigor and a better emotional understanding of the urgency of the crisis, hope remains for a solution that would ultimately bring a better life – and no longer death – for the desperate people making dangerous journeys to Europe.

As part of Kemplon Engineering’s drive to bring information and customer satisfaction to our marine and industrial clients, we keep a frequently-updated blog on topics relating to the maritime industry. Please feel free to explore it for more news and developments. You may also want to explore our website for more information on the engineering services we can provide. From welding and fabrication, precision machining, pipe fitting, laser cutting, and more, we just might have the solutions you need for your projects. Contact us for queries and quotes at, or by phone at (877) 522-6526.



Biddle, Jo. “Millions pour into aid groups after toddler’s death.” Yahoo! News, 05 Sep 2015. Web. 05 Sep 2015.

Hartley, Eve. “German Officials Help Deliver A Baby Born On A Migrant Rescue Ship.” The Huffington Post, 26 Aug 2015. Web. 05 Sep 2015.

Makortoff, Kalyeena. “By numbers: Europe’s migrant crisis.”, 03 Sep 2015. Web. 05 Sep 2015.

“Migrant Journeys: Baby Born at Sea.” The Maritime Executive, 28 Aug 2015. Web. 05 Sep 2015.

Wheatstone, Richard. “Drowned Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi remembered in powerful sand sculpture of three-year-old slumped on beach.” Mirror, 05 Sep 2015. Web. 05 Sep 2015.

Image “The Old Wooden Anchor On Wood Wall Background” courtesy of cbenjasuwan at