MOAS Central Mediterranean 2017 Mission Launch
On the 1st of April 2017, MOAS launched our fourth search and rescue mission in the Central Mediterranean. Thanks to the dedication and commitment of our donors and supporters, MOAS’ SAR vessel, the Phoenix, sailed from Malta, waved off by the crew’s families and the shore-based MOAS team. In this blog, we briefly explore the preparations our team have been making for new mission, before looking at the equipment – both old and new- that our crews will be using.
Preparing for Sea
Since the end of the 2016 Central Mediterranean mission in December, our crews have been busy preparing to go back to sea by working on vital maintenance and upgrades on the Phoenix. The vessel has been fully repainted, and a new propeller has been fitted.
On Saturday, the final stocks of the post-rescue care provisions, including water, food, blankets and medical supplies for the onboard clinic were brought on board and stored away.
The final preparations for the clinic were also being made, as our new post-rescue care medical team familiarized themselves with the layout of the clinic and ensured that as many medical scenarios as possible had been accounted for.
Annie and Marino, two of our new post-rescue care team, make final checks of the clinic’s stocks
Search and Rescue Equipment
This year, we have worked on expanding our SAR capabilities yet further to make our rescue operations as effective as possible. Our crew have installed powerful new binoculars that have both day and night capabilities in a new ‘monkey island’ watchtower, which will help us to spot and locate vessels in distress as quickly as possible.
As well as the new pieces of equipment on board, the crew have been preparing and maintaining the specialist equipment we have always used during our rescue missions.
Manned Aerial Asset
During our previous missions, MOAS has pioneered the use of humanitarian drones to dramatically increase our search capabilities. This mission, we will be supported by a manned aerial asset in the form of a fixed-wing plane that will enhance even further our ability to identify vessels in distress and share information of unfolding emergencies at sea. A room on board the Phoenix that had previously served as the drone control room has been refitted for a member of the plane communications crew, who will work alongside the Phoenix crew to make our rescues as effective as they can be.
Once all the final preparations and goodbyes had been made, the Phoenix began its departure from Malta, arriving in the SAR zone 18 hours later.
While the MOAS crew and team are deeply sad and frustrated that the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean is continuing for yet another year, we are glad that thanks to the support of so many people around the world we are now back at sea, where we are needed the most.
We explore the ways we have been preparing for sea in more depth in our latest podcast, in which you can hear the crew describe preparing for the new mission. Make sure to also watch out for our new video blog series, ‘Preparing for Sea’.
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