jm + migration + drowning   1

How Irish Navy’s expertise saved 367 from 30-second sinking in Mediterranean
War-game exercises saved the day:
As the Ribs made their assessment of the situation and began reassuring those on board that help was at hand, the hopelessly overloaded vessel suddenly listed and sank. The sinking took just over 30 seconds. In those 30 seconds, the Captain of the LE Niamh took a number of instant command decisions that saved hundreds of lives. Most of the refugees cannot swim. Their life expectancy in the water would be measured in seconds.
The crew of the Ribs immediately began throwing orange lifejackets into the water – encouraging the now frenzied and milling survivors to cling to them. Individuals, then groups clung to the lifejackets – and one another – as the Ribs rallied around trying to keep the floating human mass from dispersal into wider waters and almost certain death.
In the meantime, the commander of the LE Niamh managed to manoeuvre close in to the survivors where spare life-rafts were launched into the water. These 25-man inflatable life-rafts were specifically ordered and kept on board the LE Niamh following a “war-gaming” exercise, where the officers and crew envisaged such a nightmare scenario. Had this forward planning not taken place – there would have been no such extra inflatable lifeboats on board.
war-gaming  planning  navy  ireland  mediterranean  sea  boats  refugees  migration  drowning  liferafts 
august 2015 by jm

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