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Meet the priest who has helped rescue thousands on the Mediterranean Sea

Fr. Alberto Gaton. Photo courtesy of Fr. Alberto Gaton.

Father Alberto Gaton is the chaplain of a Spanish ship that combats human trafficking by rescuing people in the Mediterranean Sea. In the span of almost 5 months, his team has managed to rescue more than 3,000 people.

“Seventy percent of them are Christians fleeing from persecution in their countries,” he told CNA. “They’re fleeing persecution from Boko Haram in Nigeria, the terrorists groups, the situation in their countries.”

From September 2016 through January 2017, the priest was aboard the “Frigate Navarra” in Operation Sophia, the EU anti-migrant smuggling operation in the Mediterranean Sea. The ship had a crew of 208 sailors.

“We were also collaborating to rescue people that the mafias have abandoned to their fate in the sea – we on the Frigate Navarra, along with other NGOs and other European naval forces, collaborated to make rescues,” he said.

In precarious make-shift boats of rubber and wood, hundreds of people try to cross the Mediterranean every day, the chaplain said. “Heavy storms frequently come up, and if we’re not there, they would die.”

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