Professional migrant rescue service MOAS to set sail on May 2nd

NOTE TO EDITORS AND PRODUCERS: MOAS director Brig. Ret’d. Martin Xuereb is available for comment and analysis on the need for a professional search and rescue service in the Mediterranean

Thousands more men, women and children will die in the coming weeks unless more rescue assets are immediately deployed to the Mediterranean Sea, according to search and rescue charity Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS).

Around 700 people are believed to have drowned last night after a large boat capsized off Lampedusa in the worst-ever migrant tragedy in the Mediterranean Sea.

MOAS will redeploy its own rescue operation on May 2nd after saving some 3,000 lives in 60 days last year. In this year’s operation it will be partnering up with Doctors Without Borders (MSF) which will take care of the post-rescue care of migrants taken on board.

“Every day we are waking up to news of more deaths in the Mediterranean. Scaling down Europe’s rescue operations has not discouraged these desperate migrants from risking their lives in these dangerous crossings. It has only led to more deaths,” said MOAS director Brig. Ret’d. Martin Xuereb.

“We must take politics out of search and rescue. We must put saving lives at the top of the agenda. Meanwhile, society must not be a bystander. We must lead by example and show support to the search and rescue efforts being undertaken. The people making these crossings are people like us, with hopes and aspirations. They do not deserve to be left at sea to die,” he added.

MOAS, which is equipped with a 40-metre vessel, two Schiebel camcopters, two rescue RHIBs, and a 20-strong professional crew of seafarers, rescuers, doctors and paramedics, is currently seeking funding to allow it to operate a year-long rescue operation.

MOAS depends on donations from the public which can be made on www.moas.eu.

Brig. Xuereb will be available for comments today from 15.00hrs Malta time.