NI campaign to buy refugee rescue ship
A Northern Irish search and rescue organisation has launched a £2m fundraising campaign to buy a ship to help save the lives of hundreds of refugees in the Mediterranean.
Last month Refugee Rescue rescued 400 people, including 160 children, after deploying its rapid reaction vessel the Mo Chara to the Central Mediterranean.
The small Mo Chara can hold around 15 people at a time and Refugee Rescue co-founder, Joby Fox, the Belfast born musician and peace activist, said that acquiring a ship would enable it to rescue hundreds of people making the perilous journey from Libya to Italy.
“Many lives are lost every day as increasingly desperate people try to make it to Europe. We need to raise £1.5m to get the ship operational and £500,000 for running costs. The people of Ireland have been very generous in the past and we are hoping to capture their imagination again so we can save as many lives as possible,” he said.
This year at least 615 people have drowned or gone missing in the Mediterranean with most of these tragedies recorded in the Central Mediterranean route.
On April 22, up to 130 people were left to die at sea off the coast of Libya.
Refugee Rescue is now operating Mo Chara alongside the German rescue ship Sea Eye 4. This joint mission marks the beginning of a new era and it signals the organisation’s aim to establish once again a full-time presence in the Mediterranean.
Refugee Rescue was formed in 2015 in response to the unfolding refugee crisis on the Aegean Sea. During this time on Lesbos, their search and rescue vessel saved many lives and assisted over 15,000 people.
Ballycastle man Paul Kerrigan, Chair of Refugee Rescue said, “When we began this mission six years ago it was the goodwill and support of the Irish people that brought this initiative to fruition. At the time the world was fully aware of the daily lives lost at sea. This has since slipped off the agenda but nevertheless happens daily, particularly in the Mediterranean.
Refugee Rescue has always simply been about saving lives. There is no politics - and there should be no politics - when it comes to saving lives.”
To donate visit: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/help-us-keep-rescuing-refugees-in-peril-at-sea/