German academic back home after two months of isolation in sea
Ece Çelik - ISTANBUL
A German academic who had been sailing in the Aegean Sea on his catamaran as the pandemic made its way into Europe and who eventually got stranded in the middle of the Aegean Sea, because both Turkey and Greece closed their borders, is now back home.
Sebastian Kummer, 57, a lecturer at the University of Vienna, went on an Aegean tour with a sailing catamaran after setting sail from the French port of La Rochelle with his two friends last month.
According to the initial plan, the journey would have ended in Turkey, but the deadly coronavirus pandemic emerged in the meantime and countries began to close their borders.
The group turned their direction to Italy, but on March 10, all of Italy was sealed off and put under lockdown. This time the sailors sailed to the Balearic Islands of Spain. But Kummer wanted to dock his boat at the Göcek coast of Muğla province and shelter in place there.
However, Turkey had closed its borders when Kummer arrived on the coasts of Turkey alone after his friends disembarked on the Balearic Islands.
The Greek authorities also directed him to Turkey because the boat was carrying a Turkish flag.
Kummer, who could not approach any shore, was stuck in the middle of the Aegean Sea.
As media reported Kummer’s self-isolation as “quarantine in paradise,” the Consulate-General of Germany contacted the academic.
Kummer was taken to a different boat that was off the Aegean at that time but on the way to Croatia.
The German Foreign Ministry carried out diplomacy to help its national who later went to Vienna by road after entering Croatian lands.
Noting that he appreciated the Turkish seafarers and local people who helped him during the four-month boat quarantine, Kummer said he spent 120 days in “paradise.”
“I will never forget the fishermen who brought me my food and needs, and the warmth of the Turkish people. They welcomed me very warmly and I felt safe,” said Kummer, adding that fishermen brought water and food supplements for him.
Kummer said he did not neglect his students or allow the circumstances to disrupt his online lectures.
Kummer, who has undergone a COVID-19 test in Croatia, said he is well.