The IMRF have been approached by a number of rescue services in the Mediterranean who are struggling to keep up with the replacement of equipment being used to rescue the flood of migrants into their waters.
To help coordinate this, we have relaunched our Members Assisting Members Website, to help identify need and connect those who can help.
The Hellenic Rescue Team of 2,000 volunteer rescuers in Greece are looking for lifejackets, helmets, dry suits and equipment for their boats, as well as hoping to increase their response capability by securing some additional 6-10m rescue boats. With a massive increase in call-outs due to rescuing migrants in distress on their waters, supplies are getting low and fundraising in Greece is difficult at present.
It is a similar story for the team at the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS), who have extended their patrols and are starting to feel the squeeze. With close to 8,000 people rescued already this year the team are needing to replace VHF radios, helmets and SAR lifejackets for their crew.
The German rescuers Sea Watch are also in need of lifejackets and inflatable rafts to help keep the people afloat until rescue services arrive.
“The increasing number of migrants and refugees, who are fleeing countries on overcrowded, often unsafe vessels, is clearly having an impact on the resources and capability of Mediterranean rescue services,” says Bruce Reid, the IMRF’s CEO.
“The rescuers themselves need urgent help and we are reaching out to the maritime SAR community to get their support – mainly for equipment.”
Georgios Kalogeropoulos from the Hellenic Rescue Team says that the work of their volunteers in Mytilini, Samos and Kos has intensified in the last few months.
“Our branch in Mytilini took part in 141 SAR missions from February through to the end of May, while our station in Samos has helped more than 110 SAR missions from January to the end of May.”
George adds that volunteers in Kos have participated in more than 70 missions in the last year and that 60,000 refugees had arrived in Mytilini, Kos, Lesvos and Samos in the past six months.
Davide De Bernardin of MOAS notes that their rescues are always conducted in the safest and most professional way, but he has written to the IMRF because the latest rescues are becoming even more perilous and there is a new requirement for equipment.
“There is still need of us out there and things are not going to change any time soon. We will be on station as long as is financially possible,” Davide added.
Harald Hoppner, founder of Sea Watch says: “In what was only the organisation’s second coordinated SAR patrol in the Central Mediterranean, the vessel took part in five rescue operations in as many days. We rendered assistance to over 600 people during this period utilising all the available SAR equipment at our disposal – including 6 x 65 person life rafts.
“The Organisation now needs to replenish its stocks and we would be most grateful if you could assist with the procurement of rafts. Specifically we deployed with the Beaufort 130 ORL life raft, which we found to be very reliable and practicable in the circumstances.”
CAN YOU HELP?
Members Assisting Members is a ‘Post Board’ for IMRF Members and IMRF Guests. Using the board you can request, offer, exchange, sell and/or buy equipment, services, training & education and support. The aim is simple: to help each other and to prevent loss of life in the world’s waters. Visit the MAM Website.