German academic stranded at Aegean Sea amid pandemic

German academic stranded at Aegean Sea amid pandemic

Ece Çelik - ISTANBUL
German academic stranded at Aegean Sea amid pandemic

A German academic who was sailing in the Aegean Sea on his catamaran when the pandemic had entered Europe has been stranded in the middle of the Aegean Sea since both Turkey and Greece closed their borders.

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 spend the quarantine here.

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.

“Actually, I can’t imagine a better place to be in quarantine. I spend time in various bays with my sailboat. I know there are people on boats like me,” Kummer told daily Hürriyet.

“I think that a safe port should be shown under international maritime law. I am in contact with the Turkish authorities and I hope my problem will be solved within a day or two,” he added.

Kummer is now touring the Aegean bays and giving online lectures.