Irish search and rescue organisation launches £2m fundraising campaign to buy ship to help save refugees' lives
An Irish search and rescue organisation has launched a £2m fundraising campaign to buy a new ship.
Refugee Rescue has helped 400 people, including 160 children, this month, after deploying its rapid reaction vessel, the Mo Chara in the Mediterranean.
The Mo Chara can hold around 15 people at a time however acquiring a ship would enable Refugee Rescue to rescue hundreds of people making the perilous journey from Libya to Italy.
Refugee Rescue was formed in 2015 in response to the unfolding refugee crisis on the Aegean Sea.
The organisation is currently operating alongside the German rescue ship, Sea Eye 4.
Joby Fox, a Belfast born musician and peace activist who set up Refugee Rescue, said many lives "are lost every day as increasingly desperate people try to make it to Europe.
"We need to raise £1.5m to get the ship operational and £500,000 for running costs," he said.
"The people of Ireland have been very generous in the past and we are hoping to capture their imagination again so we can save as many lives as possible."
Ballycastle man Paul Kerrigan, Chair of Refugee Rescue said: "When we began this mission six years ago it was the goodwill and support of the Irish people that brought this initiative to fruition.
"At the time the world was fully aware of the daily lives lost at sea," he said.
"This has since slipped off the agenda but nevertheless happens daily, particularly in the Mediterranean".
He added: "Refugee Rescue has always simply been about saving lives.
"There is no politics - and there should be no politics - when it comes to saving lives."
Donate to Refugee Rescue can be made at https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/help-us-keep-rescuing-refugees-in-peril-at-sea.