Priest On The Front Line Of The Refugee Crisis Speaks Out

Migrants are rescued in the Mediterranean.Reuters/Italian Navy

A priest who acts as an Army chaplain has spoken about the conditions aboard the board where he is stationed.

Speaking to the Catholic News Agency, Father Alberto Gaton talked about his position on a Spanish rescue ship which patrols the Mediterranean Sea and rescues boats which have got into difficulty.

In recent months he says the team has rescued around 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.'

The clergyman celebrates communion every day on board the resuce boat. He says that in five months, he has yet to see a rescue that wasn't successfully carried out. 'Thanks be to God,' he said, 'we were able to rescue all the boats we were responsible for, even though some of them were in very bad sea conditions.'

As a Roman Catholic Priest, he has been meeting Christians of other denominations on the boat. He says he spent some time with a Protestant pastor who was on the run from persecution. 'I helped him in everything I could,' Fr Gaton said, 'I am always there with the families, with the sick.'

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