Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Merchant ships left as main lifeline to desperate migrants

From an article by Seatrade Global

It is one thing for a coastguard cutter, with a relatively low freeboard, large crew trained in emergency operations to cope with a refugee boat packed with distressed people. It is something rather different for a large merchant ship, with a long climb onto its deck and a tiny crew, to provide succour to 200 or 300 desperate souls.

The fact that many ships this year on passage through the Mediterranean, have done just that, their crews showing both seamanship and humanity, has been insufficiently recognised. It clearly has not been easy and not a skill set that will feature in the training of the average merchant mariner. They have seen terrible sights, with corpses in the sea and in the bottoms of the refugee craft. They have found themselves facing great mobs of desperate people, far more than can be easily controlled.

They have to consider the safety of their own ships; think on the suitability of a laden chemical or gas carrier as a passenger vessel! They may have to face armed traffickers, while the refugees themselves might be carrying weapons, even infectious diseases. And as winter sets in, there will be no let-up, for every situation which set these armies of people on the move remains unresolved.

Full article quoted HERE