Norwegian Sea Rescue in Place in Greece by Mid-July

Posted in General News

Crew Peter Henry Von Koss Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Secretary General Rikke Lind 17th June 2015 Press Conference

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg has announced that one of IMRF Member the Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue (Redningsselskapet - RS)’s vessels is to sail to Greek waters to assist in the ongoing humanitarian disaster that is now unfolding in the Mediterranean.

The rescue vessel "Peter Henry Von Koss" arrives in Piraeus in mid-July and will then be assigned an operating area in the border area between Greece and Turkey.

"We have been working to make the Norwegian coast safer for 125 years, and now we are taking part in an operation outside Norway for the first time. We look forward to taking an international responsibility," says Rikke Lind, Secretary General of RS and newly-elected IMRF Trustee.

RS is contributing NOK 3 million to this humanitarian operation. The remainder is being covered by the EU and Frontex. This will not affect emergency response in Norway, but Ms Lind does not rule out having to ask the people of Norway for support. For the moment, she is most concerned about immediate action and it is important to focus on getting to where the tragedy is occurring.

"Our presence, under completely different working conditions to those our crews are used to, will demand a great deal from us, both as an organisation and as people. I am confident that we will manage both," says Ms Lind.

The rescue vessel will join the EU's Operation Poseidon. This work is being led by Frontex, the EU agency responsible for monitoring borders with non-EU countries.

"The vessel is being manned by RS crews, as well as Norwegian police and representatives of the Greek authorities. All will work four weeks on board, four weeks off, which is the same as their normal practice in Norway. The initial time scale of the mission is six months," says Ronny Pedersen, head of Emergency Response at RS.

As well as being part of the border control, the vessel will be specially equipped with extra rafts that can take a total of 300 persons. The team will also have dinghies and water scooters that can operate in shallow water.

"We have here a professional and motivated crew who are looking forward to getting on with the job in the Mediterranean. The crew has a very varied background and they have been employed on the rescue vessels for many years," says Pedersen.

About "Peter Henry Von Koss"RS Peter Henry Von Koss

The Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue has made the vessel "Peter Henry Von Koss" available. This rescue vessel has a speed of 28 knots and a range of 800 nautical miles. It is 23 metres long, with a beam of 6.5 metres and a draught of 1.4 metres. The vessel is normally stationed in Egersund.

"Peter Henry Von Koss" was built in 1996 and the Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue has a good maintenance programme for its vessels.

The rescue vessel is equipped with:

Dacon rescue scoop
Rescuerunner forward, in addition to existing RIB work boat aft.
The towing winch has been temporarily taken ashore. This has been replaced by two 150-person open rescue rafts that can be launched over the stern. This gives capacity to handle rescued persons
Air conditioning system
The office has been converted into double cabins to give 6 back-up berths if needed (increased flexibility), but the intention is that the crew will sleep ashore.
The deckhouse is modified with office desks and fixed chairs for 2 persons, new cabinets etc.
Satellite communication equipment
The vessel has a heat-seeking camera as standard equipment

Images: "Crew Peter Henry Von Koss Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Secretary General Rikke Lind 17th June 2015 Press Conference" and "RS Peter Henry Von Koss". Provided by Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue.

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