On 26th September 2000, here on the island of Paros, we witnessed a tragedy at sea of epic proportions. With over 500 passengers on board, the Express Samina ferry sailed into the rocks known as "the Doors" just two miles off shore, and sank shortly afterwards in Paros Bay with the loss of over 80 lives. Had it not been for the heroic efforts of our islanders who risked their lives and took their own boats to sea in the 8-9 Beaufort winds and fierce seas, and those who lined the shores with torches and car headlights to guide survivors to land, the loss of life would have been even more horrific.
Prompted by the events of that night, members of our local community, including port police officers, the owners of water-ski, windsurf & diving schools, fishermen and others, have taken on the project of improving safety at sea around the shores of Paros by forming a volunteer sea rescue service. The founding members of the team are those who were already assisting the port police unofficially. They are now working together in a coordinated way using existing private boats, but plan to equip five locations around the island with high-speed rigid inflatable boats. They also aim to purchase an all-weather self-righting Severn Class Lifeboat as used by the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) in the UK to be based in the main port of Paroikia.
In order to achieve these objectives, train and equip the teams and maintain this 100% voluntary service to a high standard, the PVLS needs members and sponsors. They are appealing to the population of Paros, as well as to communities around the world for funds to help realize this ambitious and worthwhile project.
In case of emergency at sea, the first point of call is the port police. They, in turn, will contact the PVLS to assist them as appropriate in any rescue operation.
For further information or to support the team (member's fee is 10,000drs per year), contact the PVLS at the Town Hall on tel/fax 21028 (10.00-12.00 & 18.00-19.00), email: firstname.lastname@example.org, call Mr Dimitris Kourtelis on 0944-242227 or see their website at www.parosrescue.gr.