While it is a distant problem to most Canadians, a new wave of refugees and illegal immigrants from North Africa and the Middle East is challenging the countries of southern Europe again this summer. This involves hundreds and sometimes thousands of people being rescued from the Mediterranean each week including many children. One such mission last month involved the Medecins San Frontieres chartered offshore supply vessel Vos Prudence which in a single operation rescued 1,449 migrants from 12 different boats and delivered them to Naples after being forced to sail for an extra two days following refusal of a request to land them in Sicily due to heightened security surrounding the G7 summit. Among the refugees rescued were 207 women, 22 of them pregnant, and more than 140 children, the youngest being just a week old.
Built by Fujian Southeast Shipyard, Fuzhou, PRC and delivered in 2013
Owned and managed by Vroon Offshore Services
Registered in Ancona, Italy
GRT 2948 tons
DWT 3324 MT
Since the beginning of 2017 there has been a steady increase in the number of those who have lost their lives while trying to reach Europe by sea, not having any safe or legal methods by which to do so. Despite the risks, desperate people are rolling the dice, the mortality rate being 0.37% in 2015. However, in the first 5 months of 2017 this has risen to 2.3% compared to 1.2% in the same period of 2016.
Founded in 1971 by a small group of French doctors and journalists, Medecins San Frontieres (MSF) also known as Doctors Without Borders, is an international humanitarian NGO widely known for its work in the many war-torn, disease ridden and famine affected regions of the world. The organization is supported by some 30,000 volunteer personnel comprising doctors, nurses and other medical professionals, logistical experts, water and sanitation engineers and administrators spread across roughly 70 countries. Private donors provide about 90% of the organization's funding, while corporate donations make up the rest, giving MSF an annual budget of approximately US$1.6 billion.
The organization emphasizes "independence and impartiality," and explicitly precludes political, economic, or religious factors in its decision making. For these reasons, it limits the amount of funding received from governments or intergovernmental organizations.
Founded in 1890, Vroon B.V. is headquartered in Breda, The Netherlands, and employs some 4,000 people globally including the manning of a diverse fleet of approximately 200 vessels. The company operates through a number of subsidiaries in the sectors of offshore-support vessels, offshore installation, maintenance and engineering services, dry-cargo vessels, container vessels, product & chemical tankers, asphalt & bitumen tankers, car carriers, livestock carriers and ship management services.
Ship of the Week contributed by Captain Stephen Brown, West Pacific Marine Ltd.