MOAS Memories – Igor

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. Igor has been part of the Phoenix crew since the very start. He sat with us to talk about the challenges faced in the Mediterranean this year and why he keeps working for MOAS year after year.

It’s difficult when we take people on board, but when we bring them to Italy, it’s totally different. You see it in their eyes, they’re like a Phoenix. It’s nice. It’s difficult but it’s nice. I like what I do.

“This summer has been busy; we’ve had many different rescues and a few of them were very difficult.

The first year, in 2014, we didn’t come across any casualties. In 2015, I thank God we didn’t find any bodies either. But this year we have had a few. What can you say when you come across something like that? I have no words to explain it. You think about these people having been alive and breathing maybe one, two hours ago and now they’re dead. It’s difficult and I try to keep away from those things because this year it’s been too much. We saw a lot of lives lost.”

Every rescue is memorable in some way or other. Sometimes it’s the people, or the kids on board, sometimes it’s the boat or the weather, you know?

There was one day when we were just running around trying to keep up with all the boats around us, trying to save all the people. We were going around to monitor all the boats. It was difficult. As soon as we get to one boat, they call us from another. We worked our way around everyone by finding the boat which was in the worst condition so we first rescue the people from that boat. That’s the job. At that moment, you don’t think about anything but trying to help as many lives as possible.

Last year when we worked with a rubber boat it was 100 people mostly, sometimes less. This year, from the beginning there would be 110, 120, 130 people on every boat. I even heard of some boats having 150 people in the same boat. Whenever we carry out a rescue, the first thing we do is talk to them and try to keep everyone calm as we hand out life jackets. We had one boat this summer, Mimmo started to tell them to stay calm but I told him there were too many, they couldn’t sit down. They had to stand up the whole time. Sometimes they say they lose people during the journey because it’s too many people on board and some fall over. It’s crazy to think about.

My English isn’t very good to explain how I feel. I get some good energy, let’s say. It’s difficult when we take people on board, but when we bring them to Italy, it’s totally different. You see it in their eyes, they’re like a Phoenix. It’s nice. It’s difficult but it’s nice. I like what I do.”

Watch Igor’s interview:

 

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