Refugee patrol ship arrives in Mediterranean

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The Norwegian-owned supply ship Siem Pilot is now in place in the Mediterranean, in an area where many refugees risk their lives to flee to Europe. The vessel will both patrol the area and take part in rescue operations.

State broadcaster NRK reported that the vessel is prepared to take refugees on board if they’re found adrift on the substandard boats they’ve paid smugglers to travel on.

The Siem Pilot, which normally is used in the currently depressed oil and gas business to serve offshore platforms, won the bidding after the Norwegian government committed to offer vessel assistance in the refugee crisis. It is well-suited to take on refugees, with cabin accommodation for 64 people and a large open deck where refugees also can sit. It was built for rescue work in the North Sea and can take around 500 refugees on board should the need arise.

The vessel has a crew of 15 plus eight police officers and 10 military personnel on board. The police will be in charge of Norway’s assistance efforts as the wave of refugees continues from countries including Eritrea, Syria and Libya. The Norwegian government, meanwhile, is also involved in controversial efforts to return refugees to Eritrea if their asylum applications are turned down.

newsinenglish.no staff