Feb 11 2019

Migrant rescue ship renamed after Syrian toddler Alan Kurdi

A German migrant rescue ship operating in the Mediterranean was renamed on Sunday after the three-year-old Syrian refugee boy whose body washed up on a Turkish beach at the height of the 2015 migrant crisis, sparking global outrage, reported Turkish pro-government outlet Daily Sabah.

The father of Alan Kurdi, Abdullah Kurdi, and his aunt, Tima Kurdi, attended the renaming ceremony in Mallorca, Spain, organised by the German charity Sea-Eye, which says it has saved more than 14,000 people from drowning in the Mediterranean in more than 60 missions since 2016.

"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, Daily Sabah reported.

Kurdi paid smugglers to take him and his family from Turkey to Greece after the Turkish government refused to grant them the exit visas they needed to enter Canada, where Tima’s family lives, according to Daily Sabah.

Their September 2015 journey across the Mediterranean ended in tragedy after their inflatable boat sank in rough seas. Eleven refugees died, including Kurdi's wife Rehanna and their two young boys, Ghalib and Alan.

The images of Alan, wearing a red T-shirt, blue shorts and black shoes and lying face-down in the surf, sparked outcry around the world and led to demands that more should be done to protect those making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean.