Author Archives: Imogen Dobie

About Imogen Dobie

Imogen Dobie is a PhD candidate at the Department of International Development, University of Oxford. Her research examines historical and contemporary humanitarian responses to displacement at sea. Her most recent article on the “Boat for Vietnam” projects, “Rocking the Boat: Maritime Rescue and the Professionalization of Relief, 1978–82,” appeared in the European Review of History in 2022.

“Ambulances of the Sea”: The Terracization of Maritime Aid

Abstract: Humanitarian agencies assisting migrants and refugees at sea have historically described search and rescue ships as “floating hospitals” or “ambulances for the sea.” This strategy of terracization has allowed them to dial down the political rhetoric that pervades discussions of rescue. However, more contemporary aid workers have come to reject the tactic, criticizing the use of land-based idiom as a neutralizing tool. Based on archival research and in-depth interviews conducted between 2019 and 2020, this article charts such a volte-face of humanitarian thinking. It Continue reading → Continue reading →