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Save the Children’s search-and-rescue ship sets sail 

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Save the Children’s search and rescue ship, the Vos Hestia, has launched its first search and rescue mission for refugees and migrants crossing the Central Mediterranean.

B-roll and photos of the ship launching available here

Based out of the Sicilian port of Augusta, the 194-foot, Italian-flagged vessel has capacity to rescue 300 people at a time. It is equipped with two smaller inflatable boats operated by specialist crews who will carry out the rescue operations.

Once those who have been rescued are transferred onto the main vessel, Save the Children’s team will be on hand to meet people’s basic needs by providing food and water, safe spaces for children and medical facilities. There will also be child protection experts and cultural mediators on board to help identify children who are particularly vulnerable or travelling alone, to ensure they have all the support they need upon arriving in Italy.

The Italian Coast Guard, which is the organisation that coordinates all search-and-rescue operations at sea in that area, will direct the vessel towards the boats with refugees and migrants that need help.

Throughout the mission, Save the Children will work closely with all other search-and-rescue organisations already operating in this stretch of sea, as well as with Save the Children Italy, with the aim of assisting those children who are most vulnerable.

Please follow @SaveUKNews for regular updates on our search-and-rescue operation, or search #savechildrenatsea.

For media requests including content and spokespeople, please contact Sasha Nicholli in Sicily, on S.Nicholl@savethechildren.org.uk / +44 (0)7721 261 201 / +39 392 471 0305