On the 2 June 2015 HRT Secretary General Konstantinos Mitragas provided a presentation at the IMRF’s World Maritime Rescue Congress in Bremerhaven, Germany. It was about the challenge faced by their volunteers who were being confronted daily by thousands of migrants risking their lives to cross the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greece.
Konstantinos asked the IMRF members if they could help, and our members responded, with equipment, boats, volunteers, training and most importantly with a recognition of the scale of this humanitarian crisis.
Since the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) was founded in April 2014, we have assisted over 27,000 people through our SAR operations. These people have been forced to risk their lives at sea in the hope of finding a better life.
As the first privately-funded organisation of its type in the Central Mediterranean, we have been proud to demonstrate the important role that private NGOs and civil society can play in the face of humanitarian crises.
The distance from Gothenburg in Sweden to Samos in Greece is over 3300km, that is almost one tenth of the world away and yet in 2015 that is the distance that two yellow boats, along with their crew and supporters, travelled to help with the crisis in the Mediterranean.
Sjöräddningssällskapet, or Swedish Sea Rescue Society (SSRS), is a non-governmental organization that saves lives at sea with over 2,100 volunteers working in maritime Search and Rescue along the Swedish coast as well as in the major lakes. They are ready to respond in all weathers, all year round and the SSRS accounts for 70% of SAR in Sweden. Their mandate has four compulsory elements: