Global shipping, logistics and marine services provider GAC have delivered a Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) to the Hellenic Rescue Team (HRT), last week named the joint 2016 winner of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Nansen Refugee Award.
The RIB is playing a critical part in search & rescue efforts in Greek waters surrounding the islands of Lesvos and Samos. The Award recognises the round-the-clock efforts of the charity's volunteers to cope with the tide of people fleeing conflicts and attempting to reach Greece from Turkey.
The HRT operates a small but growing fleet of rescue boats. Among the more significant additions was the RIB 'Albatross', which supported the women's sailing team SCA in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015. The rescue boat was donated under the Rule One initiative launched by Atlant Ocean Racing, in co-operation with SCA and the Swedish Sea Rescue Society. 'Albatross' is in active service at the HRT's base at Karlovasi on the island of Samos.
Its delivery followed the arrival in October last year of two rescue boats on a temporary mission from the Swedish Sea Rescue Society (SSRS), which GAC also helped deliver. GAC was Atlant's first choice to handle the 'Albatross', based on its track record of transporting SSRS boats to Greece and its work as official logistics provider for the Volvo Ocean Race. In response, GAC Sweden asked other GAC companies to contribute to the initiative to help cover the costs, and in just a couple of days offices throughout Europe and Group HQ had pledged almost EUR 5,000.
The transportation of the 9-metre rescue RIB and other aid cargo in a 40' container from Gothenburg was coordinated from start to finish by GAC Sweden. The container went almost 3,500 km overland through six European countries before making the final leg of its voyage by sea from Piraeus to the port of Karlovasi where it immediately entered active duty.
Alexander Olsen, Business Manager, Logistics Services at GAC Sweden, says: "This time-sensitive and life-critical shipment required meticulous planning together with Atlant Ocean Racing and involved multiple key partners in order to deliver the RIB within the tight time frame. Thanks to joint efforts with GAC Greece, all obstacles were overcome and GAC once again delivered beyond the client's expectations."
Richard Brisius of Atlant Ocean Racing adds: "The GAC team we worked with showed great willingness to help and play an active role in finding solutions to support us in this urgent and important initiative to save lives. They were always professional, straight and transparent in all dealings.
"That GAC managed to find a cost-effective solution meeting our limited budget while still delivering the quickest and safest freight method from Gothenburg to Samos, combined with the wonderful willingness from several GAC companies to financially support the initiative, was key. The job was handled very well and despite a number of unexpected obstacles including strikes, road blocks and storms, GAC managed to deliver as promised and above my expectations."