How Did MOAS Begin?


Christopher and Regina Catrambone are two young entrepreneurs and humanitarians who founded the Malta-based Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) after seeing the lack of response to hundreds of drownings in October 2013 off the Italian island of Lampedusa.

Feeling compelled to act, the Catrambones used their private funds to launch MOAS just four months later. They purchased the 40-metre (130-foot) Canadian fishing boat MY Phoenix and converted it into a search-and-rescue vessel with a trained search-and-rescue crew, a pair of six-metre (20-foot) rigid hull inflatable boats and two remotely piloted Schiebel Camcopter S-100s. In August 2014 MOAS became the first private rescue ship in the central Mediterranean when it began a 60-day operation off the coast of Libya.

By the time the operation ended in late October, the MOAS team had performed 10 rescues and administered aid to more than 3,000 migrants.

Since then MOAS has inspired other NGOs and volunteers to send ships to rescue anyone in distress at sea.

In 2015 public funding enabled MOAS to expand into a global NGO, which means the foundation now has the opportunity to save thousands more lives. Today, thanks to corporate support and individual donors, MOAS continues to act on its core belief – ‘No one deserves to die at sea’.