A joint operation by search and rescue foundation Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) and international medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) left Malta today for the deadly seas off the Libyan Coast. They will be operating from the M.Y. Phoenix, a 40-metre vessel equipped with two Schiebel CAMCOPTER S-100 (drones), high-speed rescue boats and a fully-stocked clinic to provide emergency search, rescue and medical aid to what has become the world’s deadliest border.

In a heated environment of public and government demands to save lives of men, women and children drowning at sea, two NGOs have chosen action. More than 1,800 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean this year, a sharp increase from last year when 3,400 had died over the entire 12 months. This month saw the Mediterranean’s worst migrant drowning to date, when at least 750 people died during a rescue attempt.

MOAS has committed to a 6-month presence at sea with the partnership of MSF. MOAS is still seeking funding to maintain its professional Search & Rescue dedicated assistance to the maritime industry, Navy, Coast Guard and private mariners year-round, following demands for action by global NGOs and leaders from Italy, Malta and Greece and others.

With the return of the M.Y. Phoenix to sea, the thousands of people who risk it all will not be alone and the focus will be saving lives.

“As others discuss the pros and cons of saving migrant lives, we remain adamant that nobody should be left to drown,” said MOAS director Martin Xuereb. “Last year we rescued 3,000 people over 60 days. This year we will be out at sea for a six month period in which we will continue to assist those who for one reason or other feel compelled to undertake the treacherous journey across the Mediterranean. This year we have also partnered with MSF to enhance our post-rescue assistance. We’re extremely proud of being able to offer our expertise and assets to the Italian and Maltese rescue coordination centres in our common quest to save lives.

The MSF emergency medical team on board the Phoenix, comprising two doctors and a nurse, will have the necessary skills, equipment, and medications to treat a wide range of conditions from sunburn and dehydration to resuscitation and advanced life support. Staff will also offer primary health consultations, treatment for chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease, and obstetric services, including safe delivery as required.

As explained in the attached infographic, M.Y. Phoenix will patrol an area closer to the Libyan border than the areas patrolled by EU border control vessels.

MOAS is an NGO which rescued some 3,000 migrants from the Mediterranean Sea during a 60-day mission in 2014, using the M.Y. Phoenix, a 40-metre rescue boat equipped with a search and rescue crew of 20, RHIB rescue boats and helicopter drones.

For more information on MOAS please contact Chris Peregin on [email protected] or +356 79241187.

For photos and videos of MOAS past rescues please visit the press section on .