Beacons of Light

I’ve just wrapped up a trip to New York, and we can’t wait to share the outcomes of this when we can. 

But alongside a very packed schedule, I managed to explore a little bit. I spent an afternoon in the seaport district, learning about the city’s maritime history.

The most fascinating thing I discovered was the now decommissioned lightship, Ambrose. A floating lighthouse, the Ambrose was a vessel anchored in the entry waters to New York’s ports and harbours and lit the way for cruise liners, cargo ships, ferries, and fishing boats. 

For over a hundred years, this vessel, and others with the same name, guided into port thousands of vessels and hundreds of thousands of people. 

This tiny ship was a literal beacon for people sailing to the new world—a constant light in the darkness. 

As I reflected, I was struck by how similar this tiny ship is to human rights organisations like Human Rights at Sea. 

Just light that lightship, we guide others, we warn of the dangers ahead, and we encourage people to correct course before disaster strikes. 

And just like the light from the Ambrose, we do not bend, and we do not waiver. 

That little lighthouse ship served an incredibly vital role in a world full of ships which dwarfed it in size and scale. And in a world of corporate and state interests, we do exactly the same. 

Human rights should be the guiding light of every person, organisation, and state. The clear, unquestionable, single point of navigation which guides all. 

More than profit, more than competition, more than glory.



Opinion piece by Martyn Illingworth, Head of Operations, Human Rights at Sea

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