accessibility & help

Red Cross search and rescue boat saves hundreds of people in first 24 hours of launch

11 August 2016

The Red Cross’s new search and rescue boat has saved more than 300 people from the Mediterranean in just 24-hours since its launch.

The Responder, which is funded in part by the British Red Cross, rescued 327 people from four separate boats in distress in the Central Mediterranean in the early hours of 10 August.

Dozens of women and children were among those pulled from makeshift rafts and dangerously overcrowded dinghies – including 11 children travelling alone.

The Responder will patrol the Central Mediterranean route, between North Africa and Italy, where the majority of the tragic 3,100 drownings have occurred this year.

The Responder is expected to rescue more than one thousand people every month. Italian Red Cross volunteers and staff on board will provide post-rescue support including first aid, medical care, food, dry clothes, blankets and toiletries.

The Italian Red Cross, with support from the IFRC, is partnering with independent charity Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) in a joint life-saving mission on board the Responder.

Ben Webster, Head of Emergencies at British Red Cross said:

“In just one day, the Red Cross and MOAS search and rescue operation has helped save the lives of hundreds of people, including many women and children. This operation wouldn’t have been possible without generous donations from the British public to our refugee crisis appeal. 

“While the Responder is playing a crucial role, it is not a solution to the migration crisis.  More than 3,000 people have already drowned this year trying to cross the Mediterranean. We urge world leaders to focus on providing safe and legal routes for people seeking sanctuary in Europe.”

To donate to the British Red Cross Refugee Crisis Appeal, and support refugees and communities affected by the crisis across Europe visit:



Notes to editors

Spokespeople in Italy and on board the Responder are available please contact:

In UK:

Freya Carr, media relations officer, British Red Cross

Email: l Tel: 02078777461 l Twitter: @freya_carr


In Italy:

Laura Bastianetto, spokesperson, Italian Red Cross

Email: | Tel: +39 3207 979 485 | Twitter: @LBastianetto


In Budapest:

Caroline Haga, emergency communications delegate, IFRC Europe
Email: | Tel: +36 704 306 500 | Twitter: @hagacaroline 

Nichola Jones, emergency communications delegate, IFRC Europe

Email: |  Tel: +36 70 430 6506  | Twitter: @nicjones81


In Geneva:

Reeni Amin Chua, communications senior officer, IFRC

Email: | Mobile: +41 79 708 6273 | Twitter: @reeniac


The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies. We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.

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