Spain’s Guardia Civil law enforcement agency intervened to prevent a collision between a containership and a migrant boat in the Strait of Gibraltar on January 21.
A Guardia Civil helicopter was despatched on that day to intercept and escort a small boat carrying 11 migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa as the vessel approached the Spanish coast.
The vessel was reportedly already half-sunk due to water ingress and unable to move under its own power when the helicopter arrived, prompting the Guardia Civil to despatch a rescue boat to evacuate the distressed migrants.
While watching over the migrants as they waited for the rescue boat to arrive, the helicopter’s crew saw the 316-metre Panama-flagged containership Seroja Tiga approaching from the southwest and on a collision course with the small boat.
The aircrew issued warnings to the approaching containership via radio to instruct them to immediately change course but were unable to elicit a response.
Having failed to establish radio contact with Seroja Tiga, the helicopter pilots made a low-altitude pass just off the containership’s bow and then began flashing their lights as they orbited closer to the bridge to draw the crew’s attention.
The containership then immediately made a hard turn to port, thus narrowly avoiding the migrant boat.
The Guardia Civil rescue boat later arrived on scene and brought the migrants to the Port of Algeciras.
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