Air New Zealand Cargo moves lifeboat to aid refugees

(Left to right) Nadeem Butt, operations supervisor at Air New Zealand Cargo with John Kwijuka from Van Swieten Air Cargo, Alexandru Mihailenco of DHL Freight and Colin Andrews, the DHL driver who delivered the lifeboat

Air New Zealand Cargo has assisted Greek rescue teams working to search for refugees and migrants crossing the Aegean Sea, by moving a lifeboat and engine from New Zealand to Greece.

The rigid inflatable lifeboat and its engine weighing some 240 kgs was donated by the Bethells Beach Surf Life Saving patrol based in Henderson, New Zealand and has been donated to Lifeguard Hellas who will use it for both patrols and emergency call-outs.

Co-ordinated by London Operations Supervisor at Air New Zealand Cargo, Nadeem Butt, the lifeboat was first flown from Auckland to London on the airline’s B777-300 service.

On arrival it was transferred to dnata City at Heathrow Airport and handed over to John Kwijuka from Van Swieten Air Cargo, a specialist part of DHL Global Forwarding who was responsible for overseeing the final journey to the island of Lesbos.

Bethells Beach lifeguards team leader, Adrian Jenkins says: “We have over 80 years of patrolling and experience among our team based at Henderson on New Zealand’s west coast, so by joining the lifeguard team in Greece amd doing our part to stop as many people from drowning as possible, this we a challenge we just couldn’t ignore.”

This week, the lifeboat arrived safely in Lesbos. “From the Bethells team in New Zealand being moved to help the plight of the refugees through to the delivery of the lifeboat in Lesbos it took just ten days and we are delighted to have played our part in its safe delivery and it was a privilege to help in this worthy cause”, says Air New Zealand Cargo’s, Nadeem Butt.

Concludes John Kwijuka: “Ensuring the lifeboat got to its destination as quickly as possible, securely and easily as the basis of supporting this life-saving cause.”