MOAS welcomes Angelina Jolie’s statement on migration crisis

“The men, women and children we are saving from unsafe vessels are not economic migrants; they are fleeing the ongoing wars and conflicts in Syria, Gaza and Libya.” MOAS co-founder Regina Catrambone

Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) today praised the UNHCR and Special Envoy Angelina Jolie for helping raise awareness about the ongoing migration crisis in the Mediterranean Sea.Ms Jolie yesterday visited the facilities of the Armed Forces of Malta together with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres.

Commenting about the visit, MOAS co-founder Regina Catrambone said:

“During its first two weeks at sea, our private NGO MOAS has helped Mare Nostrum and Rome’s Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre with the rescue of around 2,000 people at sea. The men, women and children we are saving from unsafe vessels are not economic migrants; they are fleeing the ongoing wars and conflicts in Syria, Gaza and Libya. The situation is so desperate that they are selling all their belongings to get their families a place on these boats, in the full knowledge that they may end up like the hundreds of people who drowned at the weekend.”

“We fully support the pleas by Angelina Jolie and UNHCR for the world to wake up to the scale of the crisis. The number of deaths reported in the Mediterranean is comparable to the numbers reported in wars and major conflicts and there is no reason to believe this is going to slow down.”

“Our first mission has now come to an end and it has been both physically and emotionally exhausting. The experience opened our eyes to the conditions of the people on board these small overcrowded boats, in particular the many children and infants. It has also been a special experience for us to witness the expertise, compassion and determination of Mare Nostrum and other entities, including many private commercial vessels who participate in coordinated rescues. These are heroes who are helping to prevent more tragedies at sea and should receive adequate support and incentives to continue doing so.”

“The harsh reality is that people are still drowning, as has happened again this weekend. This is a stark reminder that the rescue of those escaping despair should be a shared endeavor. Mare Nostrum is doing a fantastic job, but search and rescue in the Mediterranean is a collective responsibility. This is a humanitarian crisis that requires a concerted effort and MOAS has decided to act now. Through its actions, MOAS wants to join all those who recognize that nobody deserves to die out at sea.”

MOAS, a privately-funded humanitarian initiative consists of a 40-metre ship, Phoenix, conducted by a professional crew of rescuers, seafarers, paramedics and humanitarians. Phoenix re-entered Maltese waters yesterday after concluding its first 20 days at sea.

Phoenix will be in Malta this week before setting off on its second 20-day mission next week.

The vessel is equipped with two rescue dinghies and two Schiebel remote piloted aircraft (CAMCOPTER® S-100) which can monitor the seas from the sky and provide real-time intelligence to MOAS and the Rescue Coordination Centres of Malta and Italy. MOAS will spend 60 days at sea this summer, divided into various missions. MOAS is currently seeking ways to make its mission sustainable through collaboration with other entities and crowd-funding through www.moas.eu.

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.