An important partnership was recently established between the Hellenic Rescue Team and the Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue (Redningsselskapet), that is strengthening further the interaction of H.R.T. with organizations and collectives abroad.
The reason for this cooperation was the meeting and acquaintance of the two organisations representative teams during the World Conference on Maritime Rescue, that was held in early June in Bremerhaven of Germany by IMRF (International Maritime Rescue Federation) followed by RS's invitation to three members of H.R.T. in Oslo on June 23. There, the Secretary of the Board of the Hellenic Rescue Team, Mr Konstantinos Mitragas, spoke at the Norwegian TV channel 2 during the telethon that was held to present and support the Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue. During the interview, he was referred to the upcoming cooperation between the two organizations as well as the huge immigration problem of hundreds of refugees arriving daily in Mytilini, Samos, Kos and other islands of the eastern Aegean, a matter which was also the subject of his presentation at the World Congress of Marine Rescue.
It is worth noting that the Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue, and in particular, the General Secretary, Ms. Rikke Lind has been particularly sensitive to the issue of refugees and ustaying faithful to the RS's mission to save lives, she decided to send to Greece a rescue boat from their fleet, in order to assist in search and rescue operations for migrants, based in Lesbos. This is a 23 meters boat, that after undergoing the necessary changes in order tooperate in the Aegean environment, it arrived at the port of Piraeus on Monday, July 13th, while since Friday, July 17th it is located in Mytilene, ready to assist in operations. The boat «Peter Henry Von Koss» has been included in Frontex's resources and staffed by a seven-member crew, which consists of three members of the Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue, three representatives of the Norwegian police and a representative of the Greek Coast Guard. According to the facts so far, it will operate in Greece for six months.
The visit of the Hellenic Rescue Team in Oslo followed another visit by two RS executives in Greece, who accompanied members of the Board of H.R.T. that went initially to Kos, and then to Samos where they had the opportunity to visit the H.R.T. Annexes of the two islands and witnessed the gigantic issues of the immigrants that are growing by the day. Ms. Vivi Schumann, Head of the International project of RS and Mr Morten Granly, Technical Manager of the Organization also visited the Port Authorities of Kos and Samos and were informed about the situation by the authorized personel. During that time, they went to the area of concentration of immigrants in Kos and Samos and became eyewitnesses of the arrival of a boat filled with migrants in St. Constantine's beach.
Following up on this visit, the RS decided immediately to reinforce humanitarian aid to refugees , which was collected from the RS officials and members of the Hellenic Rescue Team and has already ben sent to immigrants in Kos. Humanitarian aid mainly included toiletries, shoes, blankets and underwear, while the majority of these items aided for children.
Finally, it should be noted that RS will support the Hellenic Rescue Team to finance the purchase of a rescue vessel, which is to assist the local H.R.T. branches in search and rescue migrant operations . The name of the vessel will be "Norway" and will be staffed by volunteers - members of the Hellenic Rescue Team.
The H.R.T. would like to thank the Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue and personally, Ms. Rikke Lind, for her unprecedented assistance offered towards our country and the refugees who suffer, as well as in our Association. Also thank to Mrs Vivi Schumann and Mr. Morten Granly for their cooperation and support to our mission!
* Photo 1: From the visit of the two RS members in the offices of the Central Administration of H.R.T. in Thessaloniki
* Photo 2: From the visit in Kos H.R.T. Annex