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About - Mixed Migrant Safety Project

AboutIn 2016 there have already been 100,000 migrant arrivals to Greece by sea and over 400 deaths (source IOM). The IMRF is working with its member organisations to assist the development of maritime SAR rescue services in Greece to help prevent the loss of life in the Aegean Sea.

Through the combined efforts of a number of IMRF Members we are building the capability of the local Hellenic Rescue Team (HRT) to respond to the increasing demand for rescue. This project has two phases, firstly helping through the provision of trained crew and boats to manage the current demand. The second phase is helping HRT by providing rescue boats and equipment and training locals to crew these boats ...

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CM Hammar Donates to the IMRF Mixed Migrants Safety Project and Our Affiliate Member Sea-Watch

CM Hammar, who for the past 160 years have been providing better solutions for safety at sea, have donated £1,500 to the International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) Mixed Migrants Safety Project (new window) and to our Affiliate Member Sea-Watch, who are working to save lives in the Central Mediterranean.

Håkan Skutberg, Managing Director, CM Hammar says: "When our company wanted to make a Christmas Gift to the IMRF it seemed natural to choose a project and organisation that was working in the Central Mediterranean."

Read more: CM Hammar Donates to the IMRF Mixed Migrants Safety Project and Our Affiliate Member Sea-Watch

Hellenic Rescue Team (HRT) Rescue Boats Zeta and Chiara Handover Ceremony Held in Kos

Hellenic Rescue Team (HRT) Rescue Boats Zeta and Chiara Handover Ceremony Held in Kos.

Rescue boats Zeta and Chiara were officially delivered from DGzRS (German Maritime Search and Rescue Service) to HRT in a beautiful ceremony held in Kos, Greece, on Sunday, 12 November 2017.

The two vessels were donated to HRT in June and November 2016 – Chiara arrived first and Zeta followed.Since then they have been operated in Kos by the HRT volunteers on the island, supporting the Hellenic Coastguard. Zeta and Chiara arrived in Kos in a time when HRT’s rescue station did not have any means to deliver search and rescue missions at sea, in order to save the refugees who were trying to cross the Aegean.

Since then, the small, but enthusiastic, group of HRT volunteers have performed 17 rescue missions, under the command of the Coastguard, and have helped more than 200 people to reach the shore safely.

When we first came to Greece two years ago, we saw ordinary people doing something extraordinary”, said Udo Fox, Chairman of the IMRF and CEO of DGzRS. He continued:

We saw a country suffering from an economic crisis, facing a humanitarian crisis of such a dimension. Nobody would think this could happen in Europe. Reading the news, or watching TV, is one thing. Being personally involved is a totally different story. We were impressed by the altruistic attitude that Greece widely showed.

Read more: Hellenic Rescue Team (HRT) Rescue Boats Zeta and Chiara Handover Ceremony Held in Kos

What Is ‘Distress’?

"The master of a ship at sea which is in a position to be able to provide assistance, on receiving information from any source that persons are in distress at sea, is bound to proceed with all speed to their assistance…."

So begins Chapter V Regulation 33 of the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention: international law, ratified by very nearly all maritime States. SOLAS Chapter V applies “unless expressly provided otherwise […] to all ships on all voyages”. The exceptions are few: Government vessels such as warships – which are nevertheless “encouraged” to comply – and (perhaps rather oddly) “ships solely navigating the Great Lakes of North America […]”

To be clear, then, all vessels at sea, with some clear exceptions, are obliged under international law to assist “persons in distress at sea”. Indeed, this was been seafaring tradition for centuries. So what is there to discuss?

Read more: What Is ‘Distress’?

An Exceptional Operation

In the early summer of 2015

In the early summer of 2015, in the shadows of the unfolding tragedies in the eastern part of the Mediterranean, the Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue took a bold decision, allowing armed Police officers to operate aboard one of their rescue vessels. Two years later this exceptional collaboration has come to an end, with extraordinary results. 

It is June 2015. In the headquarters of the Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue (RS) there is a hectic activity. A buzzing sound of excitement and anticipation.

Even if RS have no experience with international operations at this point, Frontex have entrusted them with a great opportunity to participate in operation Poseidon, in the Mediterranean. For the first time in the 125 year long history of RS one of their rescue vessels will operate in foreign waters. 

Read more: An Exceptional Operation

33 Casualties on Board, Including 7 Children, 14 Women and 12 Men

As Boat Carrying Approximately 750 People Partially Capsizes in the Mediterranean

The 24th May 2017 saw one of MOAS’ most tragic rescues to date. Overcrowding and sea swell tipped hundreds into the water during a rescue yesterday.

31 bodies were recovered to MOAS vessel Phoenix alongside 604 survivors, one of whom has since died on board despite our medical crew’s desperate efforts to save him. Several survivors are still in critical condition, including a 6-month pregnant woman who is being monitored for pregnancy related complications following the stress of losing her young son yesterday.

The MOAS aircraft began spotting vessels in distress in the early morning of Wednesday and the Phoenix’s RHIBS (rubber hulled inflatable boats) were soon after deployed to begin the first rescue.

Read more: 33 Casualties on Board, Including 7 Children, 14 Women and 12 Men

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