Hon­ours for hero fish­er­men

Costa Blanca News (North Edition) - - NEWS - By Alex Watkins [email protected]­news.es

THE 13 crew of the fish­ing boat Nues­tra Madre Loreto, which saved 12 mi­grants in the sea off Libya, were pre­sented with sil­ver in­signia of Santa Pola medals and diplo­mas at the town hall on Fri­day.

May­oress Yolanda Seva quoted a poem by José Espron­ceda which says: “My boat is my trea­sure, my god is free­dom, my law is force and the wind, my only home­land is the sea.”

She said the sailors’ work had made them ‘great’ and thanked them in the name of the town hall, as­sur­ing that Santa Pola is proud of them all.

On be­half of the crew, cap­tain Pas­cual Durá said they felt proud be­cause although they had not known what to think on their re­turn.

“This recog­ni­tion and the town hall’s sup­port, from all po­lit­i­cal par­ties united for this cause and from the peo­ple, makes us think that ev­ery­thing we went through was for good,” he said.

“In a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion I would do the same again. We should al­ways be char­i­ta­ble as we would want oth­ers to be with us.”

The crew was made up of Pas­cual Durá Ir­les, Vi­cente Sem­pere Ma­cia, An­to­nio Baeza Lloret, El­hadji Mac­tar Ndong, Ma­madou Ndong, Fran­cisco Sem­pere Molina, Tar­jono, Ndoye Bi­rame, José Pe­dro Po­mares Bon­matí, Moustapha Ndoye, Kemo Dieng and Nunut Uqnudi.

They ar­rived back for Christ­mas on De­cem­ber 21 and were due to set off fish­ing again on Wed­nes­day this week.

Sr Durá ex­plained they will fish around the Ibe­rian Penin­sula first but if there are not enough shrimp would head for Libya and Greece, where he ad­mit­ted a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion could arise.

“If it hap­pens, we will act like good peo­ple for peo­ple’s safety at sea. We would do the same,” he said.

Dur­ing the 10 days they had been un­der ‘great pres­sure’, in­men clud­ing mo­ments they ‘did not know what to think’, given that no safe port would ac­cept them and they were run­ning out of sup­plies and fuel.

“We didn’t know if we had done wrong but in the end all the suf­fer­ing was worth it,” he said.

Although the res­cue did cost them money, he as­sured ‘this does not mat­ter, it was more im­por­tant to save lives’, and put the Span­ish au­thor­i­ties’ re­fusal to help down to the im­mi­nent An­dalucían elec­tions.

Sra Seva as­sured the fisher- had not only ‘risked their lives with a great act of sol­i­dar­ity’ but ‘done their duty to help who­ever needs it on the high seas’.

She ad­mit­ted the time taken for the ne­go­ti­a­tions had been ‘sense­less, un­cer­tain and in­com­pre­hen­si­ble’ but added that ‘bu­reau­cracy takes time’.

The may­oress said a port town knows what it is like to lose many lives work­ing at sea, so the peo­ple of Santa Pola were ‘united in sup­port’ of the res­cue.

Cap­tain Pas­cual Durá (left) and a crew mem­ber show their awards

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