Since in the early hours of Saturday 15 April, MOAS (The Migrant Offshore Aid Station) has been assisting nine boats containing an estimated total of 1,500-1,800 children, women and men. Having taken 453 people on board throughout the day, and with the MV Phoenix at capacity, MOAS crew were left supervising over 1,000 people still crammed onto the remaining boats as night fell, waiting for assistance to arrive.
Life jackets and basic provisions were administered in the many hours following to the 1000+ who remained stranded on the unseaworthy vessels.
As darkness fell, weather conditions began to deteriorate making rescue efforts more difficult. The Phoenix and its crew kept watch throughout the night and into the morning of Easter Sunday, making sure that all those involved in this mass rescue remain safe.
With 2,074 rescues already conducted in the Central Mediterranean by various search and rescue (SAR) assets on Friday 14 April, including 134 by MV Phoenix, the past 24 hours are a clear indication of the huge escalation in this ongoing humanitarian crisis at sea.
“Every day people continue to risk their lives while we, as civil society, stand witness. We must continue to call on European governments to act so that people, such as those rescued by us today, do not die, not in Libya nor in the Mediterranean Sea”, said Regina Catrambone, MOAS Co-Founder and Director.
MOAS Founder, Christopher Catrambone said, “Nobody has ever seen anything like what we are witnessing this weekend. It is a miracle that we have managed to rescue everyone with no casualties today. We are still conducting operations with a new boat contact spotted this early morning. The professional conduct and tireless efforts of our crew are to thank for many lives saved today.”
MOAS 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 go to the Mediterranean to assist migrants and refugees making the perilous journey from Libya to Italy. MOAS has since grown into an international organization and has rescued and assisted over 33,000 people in the Central Mediterranean and Aegean Seas.