Three years have passed since 30 August 2014, when Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) first rescued a group of migrants and refugees in the Mediterranean Sea. The first private search-and-rescue initiative at sea, MOAS was founded with the aim to mitigate the loss of life at sea, and to draw the attention of European civil society to the humanitarian crisis on our doorstep.
Having become a model for many other organizations and private citizens, and driven by the core belief that no one deserves to die at sea, in three short years MOAS has rescued over 40,000 people in the Aegean and Central Mediterranean Seas.
September 2016: Infants are carried off an overcrowded rubber boat that had departed Libya 12 hours earlier by MOAS Rescue Swimmer Darren and Able Seaman Igor. Photo: Christian Werner/MOAS.eu 2016
MOAS was the first search and rescue organization to sign the "Code of Conduct" proposed by the Italian Government on 31 July.
"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." said founder Christopher Catrambone.
The need to be present at sea in order to help migrants and asylum seekers in the Mediterranean also prompted MOAS to continue its mission. MOAS’ co-founder and director, Regina Catrambone, said,
"The Mediterranean has always been an unpredictable and dangerous environment, and the climate has certainly not changed now. This is why MOAS has always taken the necessary precautions and employed professionals and experts in the field of search and rescue; And this is why we cannot afford to stop our operations, now more than ever; while we discuss what to do to block the flows or avoid landings, there are those who continue to risk their life at sea."
June 2017: After falling off the side of a packed rubber boat carrying 124 people, men clamour to reach a MOAS rescue vessel. The crew managed to reach everyone and all survived. Photo: Giulio Pisitelli/Contrasto
MOAS has continued to conduct several rescues, aiding a rubber dinghy carrying 111 people on 15 August, and two more inflatable migrant vessels with a total of 235 people onboard on 17 August, conducted in coordination with MRCC Rome and Tripoli.
MOAS does not claim that maritime search and rescue operations are the sole solution to the current mass migration, but it is determined to continue its humanitarian efforts as long as there are people desperate enough to risk their lives in this way.
At the same time, MOAS continues to appeal to European authorities for the creation of humanitarian corridors as a safe and legal alternative for those who are most vulnerable and in search of international asylum.
January 2016: A child, one of 14 minors onboard a re-purposed lifeboat carrying 55 people, is pulled onto the deck of MOAS vessel Responder. Photo: Jason Florio/MOAS.eu 2016
What is MOAS
MOAS is an NGO dedicated to offering professional search and rescue services along migratory routes n the Mediterranean Sea. Established by Christopher and Regina Catrambone as a private initiative in 2014, MOAS has become an international organization that has saved and assisted over 40,000 children, women and men in the Central Mediterranean and Aegean Seas.