MOAS Memories – Beppe

Our professional and specialist crew is an important part of what makes MOAS the field-leading organization it has become. We are proud of our team on the front lines and we are constantly getting questions about the kind of people we have on board and the various positions they fill. Beppe, the Chief Officer on board the Phoenix, spoke to us about his first experience with MOAS in the Central Mediterranean.

We managed to rescue everyone which was a great feeling. When we were on our way back to the Phoenix with the last group of people, everyone on board was smiling and giving the thumbs up

2016 has been my first proper working mission in the Mediterranean. It’s been a good, emotional experience from the start till the end and we’re still going. It’s been a fantastic experience to work with all the crew members and other people who spend a short time working on the Phoenix. The crew especially have shown themselves to be reliable, professional and they have shown their commitment towards the cause. Apart from being tough men, they have an extremely kind heart, and they show it as soon as migrants come on board.

I remember one day of rescues in particular. I had just finished my watch at 04:00 and was resting in my cabin when I was called back up to the deck at 05:00. It’s unusual for me to be called up at that time, so when it does happen it means I need to go on the rhib. When I got out there, I saw there were about 15 boats around us. That was one of the most memorable days.

We managed to rescue everyone which was a great feeling. When we were on our way back to the Phoenix with the last group of people, everyone on board was smiling and giving the thumbs up. Usually people are very exhausted but they were all clapping enthusiastically. I remember the last guy we rescued was holding a punctured rubber tube with his finger and when I told him to come on the rhib he wouldn’t let go until everyone had gotten off. He was the last one to leave after removing his finger from the hole and thankfully they all survived.

One individual I’ll never forget is a man named Saturday, from north Nigeria. He was paralysed from the waist down after having been attacked by Boko Haram, which is why he was making his way to Europe. I remember him coming on board and he was kneeling, which seemed very particular. I asked him if he was ok and that’s when he told me he was paralysed. I asked him how he had managed and he just smiled at me and said he’d gotten help from his brother. He was very polite and well-spoken, but he was also in a lot of pain.

He had some injuries on his legs and he needed to clean out the wound but insisted that he do it himself. I remember the Red Cross medics assisting him to clean it out and him telling them exactly what to do. He knew his injuries well. The day we arrived in Italy happened to be a Saturday, and when we called port I found him and told him, “Saturday, it’s your lucky day today, you’re inside port now.”

Watch Beppe’s interview:

 

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