MOAS Saves 3,000 Lives in 60 Days

Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) has helped save almost 3,000 lives in the Mediterranean Sea during its 60-day mission which comes to an end today.

Founders appeal for funds for next year’s missions

Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) has helped save almost 3,000 lives in the Mediterranean Sea during its 60-day mission which comes to an end today.

As planned, MOAS will now close its operations for the winter and embark on a campaign to raise funds with the hope to start saving lives again next year.

MOAS operates from MY Phoenix, a 40-metre vessel equipped with two rescue RHIBs, two SCHIEBEL camcopters and an 18-strong crew including paramedics, doctors and experienced rescuers.

Just this week, under the direction of Italy’s Rescue Coordination Centre, the MOAS crew rescued 331 people from two boats in distress. The Sirst was a wooden boat whilst the second was a dinghy. The rescues were only made possible thanks to the coordination between MOAS and various entities in Italy.

MOAS, which set sail on August 25th, has carried out three 20-day missions at sea. During these 60 days, 1,451 migrants were rescued and sheltered on board MY Phoenix where they were given lifejackets, food, water, blankets and medical assistance. MOAS also assisted the Italian authorities on a number of large rescues by helping to transfer around 1,400 other migrants onto Italian and Merchant Navy boats. All the migrants assisted by MOAS have been disembarked safely in Italy under the direction of Rome’s Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre.

“MOAS has been a fantastic success. We have proven to the world that we have the resources and professionalism to conduct effective rescues at sea. All our rescues were successful and without incident. Now we need to Sind a way to make MOAS sustainable in the long run,” said founder Christopher Catrambone, thanking organisations like US-based NGO Medical Bridges which have already contributed significantly through medical donations.

Christopher and his wife Regina Catrambone have funded the entire operation this year. However, they are not able to continue funding the project on their own.

“We want to inspire others to be part of this project. We have already received some donations on www.moas.eu but this is a mission that costs at least €400,000 per month to operate effectively. We need to Sind other donors and partners who also want to save lives,” said Regina Catrambone.

MOAS Director Martin Xuereb, Malta’s former Chief of Defence, said the MOAS mission had become even more relevant with the winding down of Mare Nostrum, the Italian government’s initiative to save lives at sea.

“Whatever replaces Mare Nostrum must prioritise saving lives. The people we have rescued are coming from war-torn countries including Syria and Gaza, having travelled all the way to Libya which has deteriorated into violence once again. These people feel they have no option but to Slee and are risking their lives to Sind safety. We must not let them drown,” Brigadier Xuereb said.

MOAS is a private NGO initiative to save lives in the Mediterranean Sea, one of the world’s deadliest border crossings. Its aim is to provide assistance at sea in co-ordination with the Rescue Coordination Centres in the region.

To monitor the progress of the vessel and keep up to date with the latest news, follow MOAS on twitter @moas_eu and use the hashtag #MOAS to enter discussions about migration. Donations can be made on www.moas.eu