Siem Pilot, yesterday participated in a dramatic rescue off Libya’s coast, rescuing 2,400 migrants in the Mediterranean.
The Norwegian ship, which was full of migrants, took off. 25 people jumped into the sea, swimming after it to get on board. 14 drowned in the chaos that arose.
‘I’ve never experienced a similar rescue. We were transferring 1,000 migrants from a tanker to Siem Pilot when suddenly several rubber boats appeared. It seemed hopeless’, said Force Commander Pål Erik Teigen, the police officer who led the operation.
Light boats from Siem Pilot later picked up the remaining migrants and they set off on the tanker, anticipating that a new ship would fetch them.
Intelligence Officer Jan Erik Valen, who provided security for the operation, said there was panic among the migrants.
‘There was chaos on board the tanker. They pushed us towards the end of the boat from every direction, and fought over lifejackets.
We had to call for extra troops. Police forces from Siem Pilot helped shield us. We beat sticks on pipes to make the maximum sound and ended up having to turn some of them away.’
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today