MOAS Statement on the signing of the Code of Conduct for Search and Rescue in the Mediterranean

“Our mission has always been to mitigate the loss of life at sea, and this document allows us to continue to do so” said Christopher Catrambone, founder of MOAS, as the meeting between the Italian government and search-and-rescue NGO’s for the signing of the Code of Conduct came to a close. The meeting saw MOAS among the signatory organisations of the document.

“MOAS signed this document in solidarity with the Italian government and its people, the only ones in Europe who are committed every day to allow organizations like ours to fulfil our humanitarian mission,” added Catrambone. “The priority for MOAS since its first mission in 2014 has always been to prevent deaths at sea, and if signing the Code of Conduct is the only way to enable us to continue pursuing this goal, then MOAS cannot and should not hold back”.

Catrambone also explained that most of the requests included in the final document submitted by the Italian government to NGOs refer to “practices and modus operandi that have characterized MOAS’ operational setup since its foundation in 2014” and therefore did not require an excessive effort on the part of the organization. For this reason too, negotiations between government and NGOs took place in a climate of “maximum cooperation and mutual respect,” said Catrambone, who concluded, saying:

“Each search-and-rescue organization has its own goals and prerogatives, though we all pursue the same mission; that of saving lives at sea. MOAS has always believed that ‘No one deserves to die at sea’, and is intent on continuing to carry out this belief with all the legitimate instruments available to it. Our signature on this document has no political connotation: we are a humanitarian organization, and as such an independent one. We will go on with our efforts and remain grateful to the Italian government for allowing us to continue doing what we know best to do: prevent the Mediterranean from becoming a graveyard”.