Pia Klemp

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Klemp at the bridge of Sea-Watch 3 on 7 April 2018.

Pia Klemp (born 10 October 1983[1]) is a German biologist and human rights activist, who, between 2011 and 2017,[2] worked for the Sea Shepherd organization to participate in many international operations to protect sea animals.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9]

Between 2016[10][11] and 2018 she commanded two rescue ships in the Mediterranean Sea for the German non-government organizations (NGOs) Jugend Rettet and Sea-Watch during the ongoing European migrant crisis. Her ships rescued about 14,000[12] migrants from drowning. Klemp was responsible for the rescue of more than a thousand of them.[13][14] One of her ships, Iuventa, was seized by Italian authorities in 2017,[15] who accused her of cooperating with human traffickers, and claimed many of those saved were at no imminent risk of death.[16][17] If convicted, she will face 20 years in prison.[18][19][20][21] Her newer ship, Sea-Watch 3 was prevented from departing its dock by Maltese authorities for several months in 2018.[22]

Life and work[edit]

Klemp was born in 1983 in Bonn-Beuel, Germany. She studied biology in Bonn, but dropped out before finishing.[1][4][23] For two years she worked as a diving instructor[24][4] and participated in several nature conservation projects in Germany, Thailand and Indonesia.[25]

In 2011 she joined the marine conservation organization Sea Shepherd, working aboard MY Steve Irwin,[3][4] MY Bob Barker,[3][4] MY Sam Simon[4][2] and MV Brigitte Bardot,[4] for six years in various positions such as cook, rescue diver,[3] deckhand, ship manager[3] and second mate,[2] while gaining her sea captain's license. During this time she took part in many missions including Operation Relentless[4] and Operation Milagro.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9][2]

On 9 June 2015, she founded Aquascope e.V., an organization to develop and utilize surveillance technologies to tackle illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.[26]

With the emerging European migrant crisis since 2015, she switched in 2017 to rescue ship operations in the Mediterranean Sea, commanding Iuventa by the German Jugend Rettet organization in two missions until the ship was seized by Italian authorities on 2 August 2017. Presented at Manifesta 12, a Goldsmiths, University of London-based Forensic Oceanography and Forensic Architecture team of researchers came to the conclusion that the crew of Iuventa neither communicated with nor returned empty boats back to the traffickers.[27][28]

Since early November 2017 she was responsible for the first[10] four rescue missions of Sea-Watch 3 near the Libyan coast, after the ship was taken over by the German Sea-Watch organization from Médecins Sans Frontières Spain. On 1 June 2018, Sea-Watch 3 was blocked from leaving the harbour of Valletta by Maltese authorities[22][29] until October 2018.

The forthcoming suit in the Iuventa court case forced Klemp to temporarily stop her rescue activities at sea and return to Germany in August 2018.[30][31][23][32] Later that year she founded the group "Solidarity at Sea".[32]

Klemp is author of the novels Allmende und Schrebergarten (English: "Commons and allotment")[33][34][35][36][37][38] and Lass uns mit den Toten tanzen (English: "Let us dance with the dead").[39][36][37][38] She has also written Entlarvung (English: "Exposure"), Wutschrift: Wände einreißen, anstatt sie hochzugehen (English: "Rage-Manuscript: Tearing down walls instead of climbing them") and Les vivants, les morts et les marins (English: "The living, the dead, and the sailors").[40]

According to The Guardian, Klemp accepted the offer of street artist and activist Banksy to command the NGO vessel Louise Michel, which departed for its first mission in late August 2020. In the report, she told The Guardian, "I don't see sea rescue as a humanitarian action, but as part of an anti-fascist fight".[41]


On 13 January 2017, Michael Steinbrecher [de] hosted Klemp and other guests in his Nachtcafé 90-minute talkshow at Südwestrundfunk (SWR) discussing her marine life conservation and anti-whaling activities with Sea Shepherd.[42][43][10]

On 10 June 2018, the Biografilm Festival [it] in Bologna, Italy, introduced Michele Cinque's 86-minute cinema documentary Iuventa [de].[44][45]

On 7 September 2018, Alfred Schier [de] interviewed Klemp for half an hour in Phoenix persönlich, on Phoenix.[29]

Pia Klemp speaking at a demonstration in Bregenz on 5 May 2019

On 5 March 2019, Katja Kipping spoke about Klemp in a feature Bedeutende Frauen der Weltgeschichte - Pia Klemp (English: "Important women of world history - Pia Klemp") by Julia Menger and Kerstin Hermes in "Der schöne Morgen" of radioeins, Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB).[46]

Also in March 2019 Klemp was interviewed for half an hour for the OstWest format by Moritz Gathmann.[47]

On 4 April 2019, Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR) broadcast an 8-minute documentary about Klemp by Iris Toussaint.[23]

On 29 May 2019, Joko & Klaas [de] by Joko Winterscheidt and Klaas Heufer-Umlauf of ProSieben featured her in a 15-minute theatrical-like staging.[48][49][50][51][52][53][54][55][56]

On 8 July 2019, Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR) broadcast an 11-minute telephone interview by Knut Cordsen.[36][37][38]


  • On 1 March 2019 Klemp was awarded the Clara Zetkin Women's Award (German: Clara-Zetkin-Frauenpreis).[25][57][58]
  • On 10 May 2019 Klemp and the Iuventa crew were awarded the Swiss Paul Grüninger Award (German: Paul Grüninger Preis).[59][11][60][25][61]
  • The council of the City of Paris on 12 July 2019 announced that the two captains of the Sea-Watch 3, Klemp and Carola Rackete, will receive the Grand Vermeil Medal, the top award of the City of Paris, for saving migrants at sea, because the two captains symbolized "solidarity for the respect of human lives".[62] Klemp declined the award, issuing a statement criticizing the Parisian government for their own actions saying in a statement "Your police is stealing blankets from people that you force to live on the streets, while you raid protests and criminalize people that are standing up for rights of migrants and asylum seekers. You want to give me a medal for actions that you fight in your own ramparts."[63]


In 2019, Henning May, the singer of the German rock band AnnenMayKantereit, wrote a song Ein Mensch mehr auf dem Meer (English: "One more human at sea") about Pia Klemp.[51] The song was covered by other artists.

To help fund the lawyers for Klemp's Iuventa case, a local beer was named "Pia-Bier" in her hometown of Bonn.[22][23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Photos: Sellmann, Julia (2019-09-12). "Süddeutsche Zeitung, SZ-Magazin, Rubrik 'Sagen Sie jetzt nichts', Pia Klemp, aus Heft 37/2019". Süddeutsche Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 2020-09-08.
  2. ^ a b c d Klemp, Pia (2017-02-13). "Pia Klemp - Second Mate - Germany". Facebook. Retrieved 2019-07-08. When I'm not on the Sea Shepherd ships I work with my own organization Aquascope on improved monitoring and surveillance systems that allow for more effective control of IUU fishing. I am currently the 2nd Officer on the Sam Simon.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Event – Captains Table, a Sea Shepherd talk". Dive La Trobe. Bundoora, Victoria, Australia: Dive La Trobe Inc. 2013-09-02. Retrieved 2019-07-08.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Popular ship visits Docklands". Docklands News. Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. 2013-10-01. Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  5. ^ a b Wright (Howard), Jessica (2014-04-01). "Sea Shepherd 'vindicated' after court upholds whaling ban". The Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney, Australia. Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  6. ^ a b Wright (Howard), Jessica (2014-04-02). "Years of anti-whaling campaign worth it, says Sea Shepherd". The Age. Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Retrieved 2019-07-05. [1] Archived 2022-01-20 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ a b Mounster, Bruce (2014-07-11). "Sea Shepherd flagship Steve Irwin docks in Launceston ahead of much-needed overhaul (Overhaul for whale war weary ship)". The Mercury. Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. Retrieved 2019-07-08.
  8. ^ a b "Steve Irwin departs Launceston today". The Examiner. Launceston, Tasmania, Australia. 2014-08-13. Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  9. ^ a b "Sea Shepherd's Steve Irwin returns to the water 'stronger, faster and more effective'". ABC News Online. Tasmania, Australia. 2014-08-13. Retrieved 2019-07-08.
  10. ^ a b c Jakob, Christian [in German] (2017-11-03). ""Sea Watch"-Kapitänin über ihren Einsatz - "Die Blockade der EU wird wanken" - Trotz Drohungen von libyischer Seite lassen sich Seenotretter nicht einschüchtern. Kapitänin Pia Klemp sticht jetzt mit der "Sea Watch III" in See". Die Tageszeitung (taz) (in German). Berlin, Germany.
  11. ^ a b Hug, Ralph [in German] (2019-05-17). "Pia Klemp (36) rettete Tausenden das Leben - Nun drohen der Kapitänin 20 Jahre Gefängnis". work - die Zeitung der Gewerkschaft Unia (in German). Bern, Switzerland. Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  12. ^ Oschmann, Roswitha (2019-04-05). "Pia Klemp aus Bonn: Sea-Watch-Kapitänin spricht in Bad Honnef". General-Anzeiger (in German). Bonn, Germany. Retrieved 2019-07-02.
  13. ^ Schumacher, Elizabeth (2019-06-08). "German boat captain Pia Klemp faces prison in Italy for migrant rescues". Bonn, Germany: Deutsche Welle (DW). Retrieved 2019-07-02.
  14. ^ Cooney, Christy (2019-06-12). "German boat captain faces 20 years in jail for rescuing 1,000 migrants". New York Post / The Sun. Retrieved 2019-07-02.
  15. ^ Pantaleone, Wladimiro; Binnie, Isla (2017-08-02). Balmer, Crispian; Williams, Alison (eds.). "Italy seizes NGO rescue boat for allegedly aiding illegal migration". Reuters.
  16. ^ Knobbe, Martin; Wassermann, Andreas (2018-07-28). "Mittelmeer: Italien ermittelt gegen Flüchtlingsretter". Der Spiegel (in German). Retrieved 2018-07-31.
  17. ^ "Italië stelt strafrechtelijk onderzoek in naar bemanning Duits reddingsschip". de Volkskrant (in Dutch). Amsterdam, Netherlands. 2018-07-30. Retrieved 2018-07-31.
  18. ^ Higgins, Eoin (2019-06-11). "'Sea Rescues Have Been Criminalized' as German Boat Captain Faces 20 Years in Prison For Saving Refugees". Portland, Maine, USA: Common Dreams.
  19. ^ Da Silva, Chantal (2019-06-12). "Viral #Freepia Campaign for German Biologist Boat Captain Pia Klemp Facing Prison for Helping Stranded Refugees". Newsweek. New York, USA.
  20. ^ Prengel, Kate (2019-06-12). "Pia Klemp: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". heavy. Breaking News. New York, USA: Heavy, Inc. Retrieved 2019-06-12.
  21. ^ Squires, Nick (2019-06-12). "Captain of rescue boat faces 20 years in jail if convicted of illegally aiding migration in the Mediterranean". The Telegraph. Rome, Italy. Retrieved 2019-06-16.
  22. ^ a b c Schröder, Felix (2018-07-17). "Schiff vor Malta festgesetzt - Bonner Kapitänin rettet mit Sea-Watch Flüchtlinge". General-Anzeiger (in German). Bonn, Germany. Retrieved 2019-07-06.
  23. ^ a b c d Toussaint, Iris (2019-04-04). "Kapitänin Pia Klemp rettete Flüchtlinge aus Seenot – Jetzt wird der Bonnerin in Italien der Prozess gemacht, es droht ihr Gefängnis". Frau tv (in German). Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR). [2] [7:39 min]
  24. ^ "Pia Klemp" (in German). Munich, Germany: Literaturagentur Brinkmann. 2019. Retrieved 2019-07-02.
  25. ^ a b c Dernbach, Andrea (2019-04-04). "Kampf einer Kapitänin gegen die italienische Justiz: "Das würde das Ende der zivilen Seenotrettung bedeuten"". Der Tagesspiegel (in German). Berlin, Germany. Retrieved 2019-07-02.
  26. ^ Klemp, Pia. "About: Who we are". Bonn, Germany: Aquascope e.V. Archived from the original on 2018-08-31. Retrieved 2019-07-08.
  27. ^ Heller, Charles; Pezzani, Lorenzo (2018-04-20). "The Crime of Rescue - The Iuventa Case - An investigation by Forensic Oceanography and Forensic Architecture". The Seizure of the Iuventa. Forensic Oceanography and Forensic Architecture, Goldsmiths, University of London, London, UK. Retrieved 2019-07-02. [3] Archived 2020-11-12 at the Wayback Machine [33:45 min]
  28. ^ Leisgang, Theresa (2018-12-20). "Kapitänin Pia Klemp: Schuldig der Solidarität". mosaik - politik neu zusammensetzen (in German). Berlin, Germany. Retrieved 2019-07-06.
  29. ^ a b Schier, Alfred [in German] (2018-09-07). "Pia Klemp". phoenix persönlich (in German). phoenix. [29:23 min]
  30. ^ Boffey, Daniel (2019-06-15). "Captain of migrant rescue ship says Italy 'criminalising solidarity'". The Guardian. Brussels, Belgium; Palermo, Italy. Retrieved 2019-07-02.
  31. ^ "Tempi duri per le navi delle ONG: il capitano Pia Klemp nel mirino della giustizia italiana" (in Italian). Rome, Italy: Associazione La Nuova. 2019-01-11. Archived from the original on 2021-11-27. Retrieved 2019-07-02.
  32. ^ a b "was hier geschieht, ist politikgemachtes sterben - Im Gespräch: Kapitänin Pia Klemp" (PDF). ist das strafrecht oder kann das weg? (PDF) (in German). Berlin, Germany: Organisationsbüro der Strafverteidigervereinigungen GbR. March 2019. pp. 33–36. ISSN 2196-9868. Retrieved 2019-07-08. {{cite book}}: |magazine= ignored (help)
  33. ^ Klemp, Pia (2018-10-01). Allmende und Schrebergarten [Commons and allotment] (novel) (in German) (1 ed.). Hamburg, Germany: Edition Contra-Bass. ISBN 978-3-94344635-7. . DNB-IDN 1164992848. (264 pages)
  34. ^ L., R. (2018-09-06). "Deutscher Verlag gibt ersten Roman von NGO-Kapitänin heraus". Riviera Zeit (in German). Biot, France. Retrieved 2019-07-06.
  35. ^ Stange, Gerd, ed. (2018-10-12). "Fr., 13:00 Uhr: Edition Contra-Bass präsentiert Pia Klemp. Allmende und Schrebergarten". Leseinsel der unabhängigen Verlage – E-Reader zur Frankfurter Buchmesse 2018 (in German). CulturBooks Verlag. pp. 238–243. ISBN 978-3-95988124-1. Retrieved 2019-07-08. (400 pages)
  36. ^ a b c Cordsen, Knut (2019-07-08). "Sea Watch Kapitänin Pia Klemp "Lass uns mit den Toten tanzen"". Bayern 2. kulturWelt (in German). Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR). Retrieved 2019-07-09. [10:52 min]
  37. ^ a b c Cordsen, Knut (2019-07-08). "Kapitänin Pia Klemp über Seenotrettung und ihren neuesten Roman". Bayern 2 (BR). kulturWelt (in German). Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  38. ^ a b c Cordsen, Knut (2019-07-08). ""Dass man diese Menschen dort wissentlich ertrinken lässt" - Die Kapitänin Pia Klemp war als Seenotretterin auf dem Mittelmeer unterwegs. Ihre Erlebnisse dort verarbeitet sie derzeit zu dem Roman "Lass uns mit den Toten tanzen". Im Gespräch erklärt sie, warum sie sich gegen ein Sachbuch entschieden hat". Bayern 2 (BR). kulturWelt (in German). Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  39. ^ Klemp, Pia (2019-09-02). Lass uns mit den Toten tanzen [Let us dance with the dead] (novel) (in German) (1 ed.). MaroVerlag. ISBN 978-3-87512491-0. (240 pages)
  40. ^ "Books By Pia Klemp". www.amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 2023-01-08.
  41. ^ Tondo, Lorenzo; Stierl, Maurice (2020-08-27). "Banksy funds refugee rescue boat operating in Mediterranean". The Guardian.
  42. ^ Steinbrecher, Michael [in German], ed. (2017-01-13). "Was im Leben wirklich zählt". Nachtcafé (in German). SWR Fernsehen. Retrieved 2019-07-08. [90 min]
  43. ^ ots (2017-02-04) [2017-01-13]. "SWR Fernsehen Programmhinweise und -änderungen von Freitag, 13.01.17 (Woche 2) bis Montag, 20.02.17 (Woche 8)". Presseportal (in German). Baden-Baden, Germany: SWR Fernsehen. Freitag, 13. Januar 2017 (Woche 2)/13.01.2017 22.00 Nachtcafé. Retrieved 2019-07-08. Karriere, Geld oder Statussymbole waren Pia Klemp nie wichtig. Auf den Schiffen einer Umweltorganisation kämpft sie weltweit gegen Walfangflotten und die Zerstörung der Meere. Die 33-Jährige sieht das inzwischen als ihre Lebensaufgabe: "Der Tag, an dem ich aufhöre mich für den Schutz der Meere zu engagieren, ist der Tag, an dem ich endgültig die Augen zumache."
  44. ^ Cinque, Michele; Brüning, Christof; Dizdarevic, Ognjen; Frotscher, René; Jeschner, Thomas; Zobelt, Volker; Pancaldi, Luca; Cocco, Martina; Lassandro, Piero, eds. (2018-07-09) [2018-06-10]. Iuventa (documentary film) (in German, English, and Arabic). Italy / Germany: Lazy Film / Bright frame / Rai Cinema / Sunday Filmproduktions GmbH / ZDF / 3Sat. [4] [5] [86 min]
  45. ^ Riepe, Manfred (2018-08-13). "Doku über Flüchtlingsschiff "Iuventa" - Vom Schüler-Projekt zum Politikum". Der Tagesspiegel (in German). Berlin, Germany. Retrieved 2019-07-06.
  46. ^ Kipping, Katja (2019-03-05). Menger, Julia; Hermes, Kerstin (eds.). "Bedeutende Frauen der Weltgeschichte: Pia Klemp – Gespräch mit Katja Kipping" [Important women of world history - Pia Klemp]. radioeins (radio broadcast). Der schöne Morgen - Die radioeins Morgenshow. Berlin, Germany: Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB). Archived from the original on 2019-07-08. Retrieved 2019-07-08.
  47. ^ Gathmann, Moritz (2019-03-14). "Seenotrettung von Flüchtlingen, Sexismus an Bord, Einwanderung nach Europa / Kapitänin Pia Klemp". OstWest (in German). Berlin, Germany: RTV Broadcast & Content Management GmbH. [31:22 min]
  48. ^ Scheuch, Laszlo (2019-05-30). "Pia Klemp - Joko und Klaas bringen Bonner Kapitänin ins TV". General-Anzeiger (in German). Bonn, Germany. Retrieved 2019-07-02.
  49. ^ Marinić, Jagoda (2019-06-05). "Mut zur Verletzlichkeit - Endlich wird Unrecht wieder zum Politikum". Deutschlandfunk Kultur (in German). Berlin, Germany. Retrieved 2019-07-02.
  50. ^ Singer, Tobias (2019-05-29). "Ernst statt Klamauk: Joko und Klaas sorgen mit Sondersendung für Überraschung". FOCUS Online / GQ (in German). Archived from the original on 2019-07-05. Retrieved 2019-07-05. [15:08 min]
  51. ^ a b "Straffreiheit für Seenotrettung: Nach Auftritt bei Joko und Klaas: Kapitänin Pia Klemp bekommt prominente Unterstützung". NEON / Stern (in German). Hamburg, Germany. 2019-06-21. Retrieved 2019-07-06. [6]
  52. ^ Körber, Kevin [in German]; Werner, Tabea (2019-05-30). "Überwältigende Reaktionen auf die Botschaften von Pia Klemp, Dieter Puhl und Birgit Lohmeyer bei "Joko & Klaas LIVE" auf ProSieben". Presseportal (in German). Unterföhring, Germany: ProSiebenSat.1 TV Deutschland GmbH. Retrieved 2019-07-06.
  53. ^ Joko & Klaas Live – 15 Minuten | ProSieben (in German). Joko & Klaas. 2019-05-29. Retrieved 2019-07-06 – via YouTube. [15 min]
  54. ^ "Live auf Pro Sieben: Joko und Klaas liefern die 15 überraschendsten Minuten des deutschen Fernsehens - Die beiden TV-Moderatoren Joko und Klaas sind immer für einen Lacher gut. Am Mittwochabend überraschten die beiden aber ihren Sender und ganz Fernseh-Deutschland mit einer gelungenen Aktion". Stern (in German). Hamburg, Germany. 2019-05-30. Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  55. ^ "Coole Geste - Joko & Klaas lassen in gewonnener Sendezeit auf wichtige Themen aufmerksam machen - Von Seenotrettung bis Neo-Nazis". RTL.de (in German). RTL interactive GmbH. 2019-06-01. Archived from the original on 2019-07-09. Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  56. ^ "Verkehrte Welt". KONTEXT Wochenmagazin (in German). No. 427. Stuttgart, Germany: KONTEXT:Verein für ganzheitlichen Journalismus e.V. 2019-06-05. Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  57. ^ Frielinghaus, Jana (2019-03-02). "Clara-Zetkin-Frauenpreis - Mit Empathie und Courage - Zwei außergewöhnliche Persönlichkeiten sind am Freitag mit dem Clara-Zetkin-Frauenpreis geehrt worden: Linda Rennings und Pia Klemp". Neues Deutschland (nd). Politik & Ökonomie (in German). Berlin, Germany. Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  58. ^ Fahrendholz, Guido (2019-03-07). "HiK – Heimatlos in Köln e.V. hat den Clara-Zetkin-Preis 2019 gewonnen" (in German). Cologne, Germany. Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  59. ^ Rechsteiner, Paul [in German] (2019-04-10). "Leben retten statt die Helfenden kriminalisieren – Paul Grüninger Preis für ein Rettungsschiff" (in German). St. Gallen, Switzerland: Paul Grüninger-Stiftung. Retrieved 2019-07-02.
  60. ^ "Fürs Retten geehrt und verfolgt - Pia Klemp ist Kapitänin der "Iuventa", dem Rettungsschiff von Sea-Watch - Pia Klemp rettete als Kapitänin bei Sea-Watch 10.000 Flüchtende aus dem Mittelmeer. Dafür wird sie nun angeklagt. Am Sonntag spricht sie in Bregenz". Wannundwo (in German). 2019-05-01. Retrieved 2019-07-05.
  61. ^ Hess, Stephanie (2019-05-24). "Liebe Pia Klemp". Annabelle. Das Kompliment (in German). Retrieved 2019-07-06.
  62. ^ "Rackete files suit against Salvini - German migrant rescue skipper gets Paris' top prize". Agenzia Nazionale Stampa Associata (ANSA). 2019-07-12. Retrieved 2019-07-13.
  63. ^ Dixon, Emily; Wojazer, Barbara (2019-08-22). "Ship captain who faces prison time for migrant rescues refuses Paris bravery medal". CNN. Retrieved 2019-08-23.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]