Published 2016-03-16

Yellow Boats honored for Best Idea of the Year

Schibsted’s  Yellow Boats campaign to save lives in the Mediterranean was awarded an honorable mention in the Newspaper of the Year awards. 

“I’m proud and delighted. This type of recognition means a lot to us, particularly now when we need to raise more money quickly if we are to continue saving lives,” says Magnus Ringman, project manager for the Yellow Boats (Gula båtarna) campaign.

Schibsted’s two rescue boats have saved 1,741 lives since they were put into operation on 28 October.

“These are people who we have literally pulled out of the water, and for them we are making a difference,” says Ringman.

At Tuesday evening’s Newspaper of the Year gala awards ceremony, which is sponsored by the Swedish Media Publishers’ Association and the trade magazine Dagens Media, the Yellow Boats were given an honorable mention in the category “Best Idea of the Year”.

“Respect beyond any competition”

The jury’s citation reads:

“To Schibsted and the Yellow Boats: What you are doing is more than an idea; you are saving lives and making a difference. That deserves respect beyond any competition.”

“Of course it’s fantastic to receive recognition like this,” says Ringman.

The Yellow Boats is a humanitarian project organized by the Swedish Sea Rescue Society- in cooperation with Schibsted Sverige, Aftonbladet og SvD- whose volunteers from all over Sweden man the boats and take turns in going down there and saving lives. So far the project has raised SEK 7.4 million, but it costs around SEK 1.5 million a month to operate the boats.

“We plan to continue as long as there is a need,” says Ringman, “But then we need to raise more money so that we can stay there ­– and we need to do that fast. I’m very concerned about that right now. We really need to raise more money now.”

Many children

“Contrary to what many other media are reporting, the refugee flow has not let up; it is constant and far higher than what it was this time last year.”

“And 60 percent of those arriving now are women and children. There are a lot of children.”

The ultimate goal for the project is to transfer knowledge to the Greeks and get then to operate this type of project themselves.

“But we now see that our boats are well suited to the environment there, which is not unlike our archipelagos in Sweden.”

“Our contribution has been a humble yet absolutely vital contribution to help the people who end up in the water.”