ERRC volunteer Rescue Swimmers in the Aegean to support MOAS

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ERRC volunteer Rescue Swimmers in the Aegean to support MOASA group of Rescue Swimmers from the Emergency Response and Rescue Corps of Gozo, have left Malta in the last couple of days to join the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) on a mission in the Eastern Aegean.

MOAS have introduced a new search and rescue mother ship, the Topaz Responder to operations in the region.

During the last few weeks, Rescue Swimmers of the ERRC underwent intensive training as part of their preparation for this mission. Joining the ERRC Rescue Swimmers will be another volunteer, who is from the Lagan Search & Rescue, Belfast Northern Ireland.

Each volunteer will man one of the two MOAS high-speed rescue craft named in the memory of Aylan and Galip Kurdi, Syrian children who perished in September 2015 off the coast of Turkey.

The eastern Mediterranean route has seen the largest increase in the flow of migrants as hope fades in the refugee camps of Turkey and other regions.

In addition to following overland routes, people from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia continue to risk the short sea crossing from Turkey to Greece's easternmost islands in order to reach Europe.

Even though the crossing is only a few miles, it is still perilous as people continue to set out to sea in dinghies despite worsening weather and decreasing water temperatures.

The ethos of MOAS is that no-one deserves to die at sea. It said, that working with the partners of ERRC Malta, Lagan Search & Rescue's commitment to preventing loss of life now extends from the waters of the River Lagan to the Aegean Sea, "where we will continue to respond to those in times of distress."

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