Vatican City, 18 February 2015 (VIS) – Yesterday evening in the Domus Sanctae Marthae the Pope received a delegation from the Italian Coast Guard, and heard their account of the difficult rescue operations they carry out at sea to save refugees and migrants. The delegation was composed of nine people, led by Admiral Commander Felicio Angrisano and Admiral Giovanni Pettorino, head of the operative unit, and accompanied by the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Maurizio Lupi.
The members of the delegation recounted their moving and inspiring experiences, and the Pope expressed his participation and appreciation for the service they carry out with bravery and dedication to the poorest. He recalled his trip to Lampedusa and praised the solidarity of the islanders with the refugees that arrive there, even at the expense of tourism in the area. He also mentioned that he had sent his Almoner, Archbishop Krajewski, to participate in the operation to recover bodies following the tragic shipwreck last year, and concluded, “I truly admire you, and I feel small before the work that you do, risking your lives, and I offer my heartfelt thanks to you for this. But I support you in the best way I can: with prayer, praise and affection”.