As widely reported, the Mediterranean Sea has seen many boats bearing persons from African shores bound for Europe. Some of these eventually capsize and require emergency assistance. As POSH Terasea has ships actively trading in the Mediterranean Sea, we are prepared that it could be a matter of time before we would need to fulfill our obligations as a responsible maritime player and provide assistance in saving lives at sea if called upon.
In the wee hours of 2nd June 2016, Captain Oleg Zhiltsov of Terasea Osprey received a radio call from a Greek shore station (RCC) to proceed to a location where a severely overloaded boat was located. Knowing that lives could be at stake, she immediately altered course with the full support of our Management. At the same time, preparations were made on board in case she was required to rescue and house survivors aboard.
At 0750h, our worst fears were realized when the severely overloaded boat capsized. Rescue boat and Work boat were readied and launched with scrambling nets rigged at rescue zones. By 1120h, the rescue operation was concluded. All survivors were provided with first aid, food, water, warm drinks and blankets. In all, 65 persons were rescued. Tragically, 3 persons had already perished in the water.
Our Flag State, MPA was kept duly informed of the progress and they provided supports. The Egyptian authorities made contact with us and fielded Navy assets to provide assistance. A patrol boat received some of the survivors aboard before escorting Terasea Osprey to Alexandria Port. However, due to a lack of available berths, we diverted to our next port of call, Port Said. There, the remaining refugees finally disembarked. Throughout the rescue and voyage, the integrity and security of the accommodation was maintained out of concern for the safety of the survivors who might wander into hazardous machinery areas.
Throughout the course of this rescue operation, Captain Oleg and his team showed exemplary tenacity and altruism. They selflessly shared what they had and also managed the situation aboard very well. We are extremely proud of our crew’s performance and for displaying their usual professionalism during this humanitarian mission. Their gallant actions prevented massive loss of life at sea.
We appreciate the co-operation and assistance of the Egyptian Navy, the Egyptian authorities as well as our Flag State, MPA. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the thousands of people making the hazardous crossing of the Mediterranean Sea each year.