Jamie leads refugee rescue

Captain Jamie Wilson from Maddiston helped rescue 900 refugees off the coast of Libya between January 28 and February 1, 2017
Captain Jamie Wilson from Maddiston helped rescue 900 refugees off the coast of Libya between January 28 and February 1, 2017

A Falkirk-born skipper displayed bravery and leadership as he and his crew helped rescue over 900 refugees off the coast of Libya.

Captain Jamie Wilson, from Maddiston, and the personnel of the offshore support vessel Deep Vision were praised for their professionalism and courage over the five-day rescue operation earlier this year.

Deep Vision, owned by Norway company DeepOcean AS, had been engaged in inspection work in the Mediterranean between Italy and Libya when the urgent call came in to assist with the rescue effort, which took place between January 28 and February 1.

The crew’s dramatic story featured in a recent edition of online union publication Nautilus Telegraph.

Jamie said: “On January 28, our vessel received a distress message relay and was instructed to proceed with all available speed to assist. We arrived to find a migrant boat with 132 people onboard – 23 women, two who were pregnant, 25 children and 84 men.

“We launched our rescue boat and distributed lifejackets to those on the migrant raft.”

That was only the beginning for Jamie and his crew as they rescued hundreds more people over the following four days, assisting the humanitarian vessel Aquarius.

Jamie said: “When working in high-risk areas it is essential you prepare well and brief and drill the crew so everyone knows their roles and responsibilities. If the time comes when emergency response is needed, then this can be acted upon swiftly and professionally.

“As mariners that is something we are all used to, regular drills and training.”

Jamie has been at sea since 1998 after joining James Fisher Tankships as a deck officer cadet. Training at Fleetwood Nautical Campus, he served aboard various coastal tankers, supply vessels and subsea inspection vessels carrying out trenching, diving and ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) work.

Jamie gained his master’s certificate in 2012 and became the commander of the Deep Vision in 2013 at the age of just 31.

He said: “As master, the hard part is lifting the spirits of the crew after events like the rescue and returning to our normal and familiar work routines. I am proud of the efforts of the Deep Vision’s crew – especially the rescue boat crew – in what were very difficult and emotional circumstances.”