On 1 April, the search and rescue (SAR) charity MOAS will launch its 2017 Central Mediterranean mission to save lives at sea, for the first time combining the maritime component with manned aerial assistance.
Having established itself as the first civil society SAR organisation involved in this large scale migration, MOAS embarks on its fifth mission since it launched in 2014. To date MOAS has rescued over 33,000 children, women and men.
The 40m vessel Phoenix will again be manned by a professional search and rescue team and a post rescue care unit, supported by a fixed wing manned aerial asset. Sponsored by The One Foundation, the maritime patrol aircraft is equipped with a full mission suite to enhance detection of vessels in distress, enhancing MOAS's reach and capacity to save lives at sea.
MOAS will continue to operate within the framework of UNCLOS and International Maritime Law, operating in collaboration with the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Rome and all other stakeholders operating in the field.
Regina Catrambone, MOAS Co-Founder and Director says,
“Our crews will head out to sea for our fifth mission with both maritime and aerial assets, acting on behalf of all civil society on the front line of this era-defining humanitarian crisis. We owe our presence at sea to those who continue to support our mission and who believe, as we do, that no one deserves to die at sea."
MOAS continues to work towards implementing safe and legal routes as an alternative to the deadly maritime crossing. However, as long as desperate people continue to risk their lives in search of safety and peace, the organisation will continue to be present to rescue them at sea.
MOAS (The Migrant Offshore Aide Station) is a registered charity dedicated to preventing the loss of life at sea by providing professional search and rescue services.
Originally founded as a private initiative in 2014, MOAS was the first NGO to set sail to the Mediterranean to rescue migrants and refugees making the journey from Libya to Italy. MOAS has since grown into an international organization that has rescued and assisted over 33,000 children, women and men in the Central Mediterranean and Aegean Seas.
Please see more information on the MOAS #SafeAndLegalRoutes campaign.
Last week on 27 March, MOAS hosted the second edition of the MOASxChange Forum dedicated to the Mediterranean migration phenomenon.
Experts in the field of migration discussed Humanitarian Corridors and safe and legal alternatives to the treacherous maritime route. Delegates debated ‘The Policy & Political Environment Surrounding Migration in 2017’ and ‘Humanitarian Corridors and the Role of Civil Society.’
Highlights from the event included Alganesh Fessaha using testimonies from the refugees she works with to illustrate how crucial humanitarian corridors are in preventing loss of life in the desert and in the sea, supported by The President of Malta who called for global political support to ensure such corridors are implemented.
Oliverio Forti of Caritas in Italy highlighted that while humanitarian corridors are not the overall solution they do send a message to governments that EU and global migration policies must change.
Jeff Crisp of the Refugee Studies Centre also encouraged a review of previously successful humanitarian corridors, including the Vietnam crisis, and to take lessons learned to shape new advocacy strategies. Italian Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mario Giro, stated his belief that humanitarian corridors will become a humanitarian practice, while Dr Simon Busuttil, Leader of the Opposition in Malta stressed the need for governments to empower civil society to continue its efforts.
The event also saw the official launch of a new migration research and information platform, Xchange Foundation, and a tour of MOAS’ vessel, the Phoenix, ahead of its fifth mission in April.
Kahin Ismail, UNHCR Representative in Malta said,
“We need to focus on the most vulnerable individuals but also to open up these [legal] avenues and replicate them where we can in examples and practices that worked elsewhere in the world. We also need to encourage governments to open up these avenues because there is resistance, due to the “unknown factor”. If you show some [positive] examples, maybe this will encourage countries and communities to accept these people.”
MOAS Co-Founder and Director Regina Catrambone added,
“Safe and legal routes are no longer a dream. They are an implementable reality and the logical next step to mitigate the unnecessary and devastating loss of life we are constantly witnessing at sea. As we enter our fourth year on the front lines of the maritime crisis addressing its devastating effects, the time to enact Humanitarian Corridors is now.”