The Gibraltar-registered dry cargo ship, the ‘Constance,’ was involved in a dramatic rescue of over 200 refugees from a sinking boat off the coast of Italy during the week of April 18, according to a government press release.
The ‘Constance’, commanded by Captain Skobel, responded to an emergency request from the Greek maritime authorities to rescue persons from a vessel in distress. Captain Skobel and his crew successfully engaged the vessel, and embarked 235 refugees onto the ship.
The Greek coastguard advised the ‘Constance’ to proceed to Augusta, Sicily, where the rescued persons were successfully disembarked at port.
The Minister with responsibility for Maritime Services, the Hon. Albert Isola, has written to Captain Skobel of the ‘Constance’ to congratulate him on his crew’s bravery in the rescue, as well as the calm and responsible way in which the situation was handled.
Richard Montado, the Gibraltar Maritime Administrator said, “It is sad to note that there are increasing numbers of people crossing the Mediterranean Sea in flimsy craft, in a desperate attempt to escape from regional conflicts and extreme economic hardship. The Master and crew of the ‘Constance’ have demonstrated tremendous courage in saving the lives of more than 200 people, in the face of a complex and potentially dangerous operation.
“I must also highlight the role of the managers of the vessel, Briese Schiffahrts GmbH & Co, in providing support to the crew and assisting with the logistics. A major tragedy has been averted on this occasion.”