(Chios, Greece) – With the cooperation of the International Rescue Federation, or IMRF, the Greek island of Chios has opened a new lifeboat station to aid in the search and rescue efforts to bring migrants found adrift in the Aegean to safety. Refugees have been flocking to Greek islands such as Chios since last summer in 2015, and many of them need extra assistance to find the island successfully.
The new rescue station, complete with new lifeboats, has been made possible because of the partnerships between various organizations as well as Greek locals. Those that are recognized as being part of this partnership include the Koninklijke Nederlandse Redding Maatschappij, or KNRM, which is a search and rescue team from the Netherlands, the Hellenic Rescue Team, or HRT, the Maria Tsakos Foundation, and community members, leaders and volunteers from the island of Chios.
The new search and rescue center only took three months to build. There are two lifeboats on site which were also donated and will serve the purpose of rescuing individuals from Chios and its nearby waters. Opening this lifeboat station is considered to be a major milestone. Building the station required not only equipment and lifeboat donations, but also 3 months of intensive training designed to help the workers at the station use the equipment effectively to save as many people as possible. The KNRM not only created the station so that it functions well, but the people are now trained to bring its rescue missions to the water within 30 minutes and they can now perform the service 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.
The CEO of the IMRF has said, “What we see here is what happens when there is a willingness within a community to stop the unnecessary loss of life and provides us with a model of cooperation, collaboration and action locally, nationally and internationally. Across borders, across diverse organizations, government and non-government, communities working together to save lives…. action not words.”
The mission of the IMRF is to prevent the loss of life in waters all over the world, so this project falls right in line with their aims. The Hellenic Rescue Team, which is a member of the IMRF, brought the issue to the World Maritime Rescue Congress in order to request assistance with this project. The IMRF members were happy to help since the current resources in Greece were overtaxed.