€1.5 million in four weeks: MOAS can keep saving lives beyond October if donations continue

Search and rescue charity MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station) has saved more than 5,500 lives in the first half of this year’s operation, while raising almost enough money to fund its entire six-month mission in the Mediterranean Sea.

The recent rescue efforts at sea have significantly reduced the death toll in the world’s deadliest border crossing, but now more financing is urgently needed to keep MOAS at sea beyond October.

Following a successful two-month mission last year in which MOAS saved 3,000 men, women and children from crammed and unseaworthy boats sent out by smugglers, the NGO set sail again on May 2nd aboard M.Y. Phoenix.

In three months, MOAS assisted 17 vessels in distress, under the guidance and coordination of Rome’s Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre. All those rescues were disembarked in Italy where they can be processed for asylum.

Public support for MOAS has also shot up in these past months, with almost €1.5 million raised within a few weeks.

Meanwhile, MOAS has also inspired others to mitigate further loss of life at sea. A flotilla of other private ships have joined MOAS at sea, including two boats run by Doctors Without Borders, which also has a presence on M.Y. Phoenix where its doctors and nurses provide post-rescue care.

“When we started MOAS we had faith that the global community will be inspired to respond to this humanitarian crisis of historic proportions. We created an innovative direct response which the public could support and help finance. Now people have joined our call that nobody deserves to die at sea,” said MOAS founder Christopher Catrambone.

“As UNHCR said in a recent report, MOAS and several other private and state-run ships who responded to the crisis have contributed to a significant drop in the death toll. The reality is that there are never enough assets at sea but public pressure is vital for European countries to keep saving lives at sea at the top of their agendas. Donations to MOAS and other NGOs help maintain this public pressure and stresses that citizens are not willing to remain bystanders,” he added.

The biggest single donation to MOAS came from drone operator Schiebel that will be providing two drones and personnel for free for the months of September and October, worth €600,000. Meanwhile,the Avaaz.org community has raised an additional €450,000 following an online appeal to its large member database. A fundraising activity in Germany also helped raised an additional €250,000 thanks to the efforts of the Archdiocese of Cologne, Caritas and committed humanitarian Rupert Neudeck.

MOAS has also received direct donations from the public and enjoys ongoing support from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and German philanthropist Jurgen Wagentrotz and his company Oil and Gas Invest.

The Phoenix this week set sail for its next three months of saving lives at sea.

Donations can be made to www.moas.eu/donate