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Reconnaissance on routes between Kos, Samos, Chios and Lesvos

by | Mar 6, 2016

Most migrants cross the Mediterranean Sea from Turkey to one of the Greek Islands. Usually, they choose Lesvos, Chios, Kos, or Rhodos because of the close distance and best chances to get to the other side of the sea. However, weather conditions in this area can often be dangerous for unseaworthy boats and dinghies.

Reconnaissance cruises between Kos, Samos, Chios and Lesvos islands

The reconnaissance is always the first action in all our search & rescue missions. We are looking for answers to the often simple but crucial questions like:

  • What is happening at the land and on the sea in this region?
  • How many people need help daily? (approx. number)
  • Are there enough rescue vessels, and how many?
  • Why – exactly – migrants are drowning in this place?
  • How can we rescue people in distress according to local law?
  • With whom we should cooperate and coordinate to be sure our work is well organised and most efficient?


Most important facts from the last reconnaissance:

  • There are not enough vessels to help people every day – it’s hard to find small pontoons on the vasts of the Mediterranean Sea or to know when to expect them. People are trying to reach the Greek shore irregularly, in good and bad weather, and often get lost on their way.
  • We can rescue any people on the sea legally – all the SWB’s vessels are on the official rescue vessels list.
  • Even a small boat can save lives if it’s well organised and has a skilled/well-prepared crew.

Photograph: Santi Palacios/AP, published in The Guardian

Join our reconnaissance missions

f you want to help us in our reconnaissance missions and help us gather all the legal and technical information on important subjects, feel welcome to join our team on the way or from your house. Reconnaissance missions are crucial for maintaining well-working cooperation between local organisations and NGOs and any search & rescue actions.

I have seen many NGOs and individuals coming without official registration and showing no cooperation with our municipality.– says the Lesbos mayor, Spyros Galinos.

We are aware of this common mistake and avoid it in all our actions. It’s always worth spending some time on correct organisation to not let any unnecessary confusion or chaos happen.


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