Honours for hero fishermen
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