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Meeting the people who save lives at sea

The Baltic Sea is one of the world’s busiest seas in terms of traffic. Luna and Achilleas could witness it when they took the ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn. At any time over 2000 large vessels are crossing it: oil tankers, cargo ships and cruise ships, without mentioning all other smaller boats. The fact that the Baltic is a difficult sea to navigate (shallow waters, half of them frozen during winter) doesn’t make it any easier. Having well prepared rescue services is therefore vital for the region.

The thing is that Estonia lost most of its maritime rescue organisations during the Soviet era, when the sea was closed off to the country’s citizens. So, when people started going out again after the independence, training support by Finland’s well-established voluntary search and rescue service was most welcome.

VOMARE

This is how the EU-funded Voluntary Maritime Rescue (VOMARE) project started, leading to the establishment of an operational voluntary maritime rescue service in Estonia.

Luna and Achilleas had just arrived in Tallinn when they went back out to the sea with Elinor from VOMARE, who took them on a pretty cool (and wet!) sea safari. Riding the waves on a fast zodiac they reached to the island of Aegna in the Bay of Tallinn, where they got familiar with a sea safety station, and with the inspiring spirit of volunteering, especially when it comes to saving lives.

The partnership initiated under VOMARE continued in another EU-funded project, Volunteers for Safety Baltic Sea (VOSABASE). This brought the network of Finnish and Estonian volunteers into even closer cooperation while standardising how they work and improving their training and equipment.

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Louis' final vlog

Back to his beloved Antwerp, Louis took the time to think about all the people he met and the places he visited, and came to his own conclusions about how Europe makes him feel…