A very important cooperation has been established between the Hellenic Rescue Team (HRT) and the Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue (Redningsselskapet - RS), reinforcing HRT’s interaction with foreign organisations.
Members from HRT and RS first met during IMRF’s World Maritime Rescue Congress, in Bremerhaven. Following that meeting, RS kindly invited the Hellenic Rescue Team in Oslo, where HRT’s Secretary General, Konstantinos Mitragas, was interviewed with Rikke Lind, Secretary General of RS, on the Norwegian TV Channel 2.
It must be pointed out the Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue and, specifically, its Secretary General, Rikke Lind, has been very interested in the immigration issue and decided to send to Greece an RS rescue vessel, which is going to operate from Lesvos.
This is a 23 meters boat, which has been renovated, in order to operate in the Aegean environment, and has already arrived in Lesvos, ready to join forces with the Hellenic Coast Guard. “Peter Henry Von Koss”, which is the name of the vessel, will operate with FRONTEX within the Poseidon Sea Operation and is manned by three people from RS, three Norwegian policemen and one representative from the Greek Coast Guard. According to the planning so far, the vessel will stay in Greece for six months.
After HRT’s visit in Oslo, Vivi Schumann, RS Head of International Projects and Morten Granly, RS Vessel Inspector, visited Greece and along with HRT’s president, Giorgos Kalogeropoulos, HRT’ s Vice President, Nikos Priporas and Meni Kourkouta Hellenic’s Rescue Team PR manager, travelled to Kos and Samos.
There, they visited Hellenic’s Rescue Team stations and the headquarters of the Greek Coast Guard in both islands, where they were informed about the migration situation. In the island of Kos, they also visited the place where the migrants are gathered and had the chance to discuss with some of them.
Just one day after, during our visit in Samos, we all witnessed the arrival in Saint Konstantinos area of a boat full of migrants. 42 people, Syrians in their majority, were crowded in a rib, after travelling for many days from their home towns in Syria. Amongst them, there was a six-month girl with her parents.
After this familiarization trip, RS decided to further help the migrants with humanitarian aid, which is already send to HRT’s station in Kos and distributed to the refugees in the island. Most of the aid includes personal hygiene products, shoes, blankets, underwear and, especially, humanitarian help for the children.
Finally, it has to be pointed out that RS will financially help the Hellenic Rescue Team to buy a rescue boat, which will be send to one of the HRT’s stations in the islands of eastern Aegean and take part in search and rescue operations. The boat’s name will be “Norway” and it will be manned by HRT’s volunteers.
The Hellenic Rescue Team would like to thank the Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue and its Secretary General, Rikke Lind for the help to our country, to the migrants and to our Organization. We would also like to thank Vivi Schumann and Morten Granly for the cooperation and their support!