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The eight thousand migrants saved at Easter: logbook of a rescue mission

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May 11, 2017GIULIA BERTOLUZZI

During the four days of the Easter weekend, 8,300 people were rescued in the Mediterranean: 1,300 by Frontex (the European Border and Coast Guard Agency) and the others by several NGOs in coordination with the Italian Coast Guard. The small Iuventa ship alone assisted 2,147 people, both taking them on board and with its life jackets and rafts. The Iuventa is a small fishing boat that has been adapted for rescue missions by the German NGO Jugend Rettet, one of the smallest organisations involved in humanitarian operations in the search areas of the Mediterranean. While much of the media and some politicians echoed the generic accusations of Catania’s prosecutor according to whom NGOs “attract” and sometimes even collaborate with smugglers controlling the flow of migrants, thousands of lives were saved from certain death by drowning, hypothermia, hunger, and thirst on the open sea. Our reporter Giulia Bertoluzzi was on board the Iuventa and kept a logbook for Open Migration.

10 April 2017, Port of Zarzis, south of Tunisia, near the Libyan border

“The first time I saw a migrant vessel?” Anis, a fisherman from Zarzis, raises his eyebrow. He moves his hand backwards, which means a long, long time ago. “Maybe 2002 or 2003, back when illegal immigration from Libya started.” Tarek Ahmed, who owns a tuna boat, adds: “We’ve found so many corpses – when you see children entangled in your fishing nets… there’s no humanity in that.”

Over the last five days, a lot of boats have been crowding the Port of Zarzis because of a violent storm raging along the coast. Even the NGOs Jugend Rettet, Sea Watch, and MSF have dropped anchor in the small Tunisian harbour for safety reasons. A concerned José Pastor, head of missions on the Iuventa, explains: “No one sails in this weather, but as soon as the sea calms down, there’ll be a lot of boats going out at the same time”. In 2015, after seeing the umpteenth picture of dead bodies in the Mediterranean, a group of Berliners decided to launch a fundraising campaign; they repaired an old fishing boat and founded the NGO Jugend Rettet to begin their missions. “We want to show Europe that if it does nothing to put an end to this slaughter, as normal citizens we will,” says Wilco Holmes, second mate on the Iuventa.

11 April 2017, first day at sea on the Sebastian Kurz Mission

(named after the Austrian politician who accused private NGOs of collaborating with smugglers in March 2017)

Zarzis wakes up with the sun and comes back to life while our boat gets ready to sail. That same night the Libyan Coast Guard announces that a rubber dinghy has sunk within the 12 nautical miles limit: “It seems that there are around a hundred victims,” José says, knowing there is nothing he can do. But what is the 12-mile limit? “It’s the coastal area that stretches from Zuwara to Tripoli, the area from which the migrant boats usually leave,” explains Kai Kaltegärtner, captain of the Iuventa. The Libyan SAR zone, the International Search and Rescue area, begins just in front of it and spreads between 12 and 24 nautical miles, i.e. up to the limit of Libyan territorial waters. “Beyond the 12 miles, according to the non-refoulement principle, you can’t take people back against their will,” Kai clarifies, “so if we find a boat in distress beyond this limit, we cannot return its passengers to Libya and must take them to a safe and suitable place.” The harbour at Zarzis is not an option since Tunisia does not presently have any asylum law.

13 April 2017, SAR zone off Sabrata: the exodus begins

At five o’clock in the morning, a deafening siren sounds and the 16 crew members all leap out of their beds. A rubber dinghy emerges in the pale light. Maggy, the ship’s interpreter, flings herself onto the RIB–the rigid inflatable boat–with Julian and Laurah, and hands out life jackets to the 120 people on the vessel so that they can board the Iuventa.

So many heads sticking out from the orange life jackets, bare legs astride the grey boat. Smugglers always force migrants to take off their shoes so they can reduce the weight and carry more passengers. “Make sure they’re not wet with fuel!” the Spanish nurse Marina reminds everyone as the combination of petrol and water causes severe skin burns. There are just two barrels of fuel left on the keel, not even enough to cover the 24 miles of territorial waters. “These boats are not meant to go anywhere, traffickers just send these people out to their deaths, with or without NGOs,” says José Pastor, scanning the horizon with his binoculars in hand.

Daniel, with his Greek centaur’s figure, works to establish some order amidst the chaos spreading across the ship while the cry of a two-week-old baby accompanies the other 120 people coming on board. “The worst is over,” the child’s mother repeats while holding him tight as Laura, an Italian doctor, examines him. Many girls were travelling alone and got pregnant during the journey, meaning they could be victims of trade or sexual violence. A 17-year-old Nigerian girl cries uncontrollably, she just cannot stop.

Un neonato curato a bordo della Iuventa

A newborn is examined aboard the Iuventa.

It takes hours before she can look Marina in the eyes. “It’s the first time I’ve seen the light in such a long time. The first time I tried to cross the sea, the Libyan Coast Guard caught us and locked us up, they put chains around my legs and hips and then hung me by the arms,” she says, displaying the signs of torture on her body. “Libya is hell, real hell,” she keeps saying. A man is covered in dried blood. “One of the smugglers did this to me with his rifle butt,” he explains, showing the large open wound on his head.

After 5 hours of rescue operations, the Aquarius of SOS Méditerranée and MSF, the MOAS, and the Dattilo ship of the Italian Coast Guard take up the last people and set sail for Italy.

Saturday 15 April 2017, 5.30 a.m.

The sea is teeming with rubber dinghies, and there are only two small NGOs. Somalian and Eritrean boys climb aboard the Iuventa from the first boat. Aged between 15 and 20, they are fleeing war and one of the cruellest dictatorships in the world, not to mention the terrible famine that is striking the Horn of Africa. They all are tall and thin, their heads far too large above their necks and skeletal arms. They have just been rescued when the Sea Eye, another German ship, sends an alarm: there are eight rubber dinghies and a fishing boat with at least 900 people on board in their area.

una delle decine di gommoni avvistati all'alba nei giorni di Pasqua 2017

One of the many rubber boats sighted at dawn during Easter.

It is an apocalyptic scene: the blue above, below and all around them, the orange of the life jackets and rafts, people screaming in the distance. This is the sound of catastrophe. The passengers of the fishing boat throw themselves into the sea, shouting and struggling “heeelp!” “Most of them cannot swim,” José explains, “they drown in a matter of seconds, I have seen them disappear underwater in front of my own eyes.” It is even worse with Bengalis because “they don’t understand what we are saying when we reach them with our RIBs,” Maggy remarks. They are oil platform workers, most of them hired as low-cost workers directly from Bangladesh by European companies operating in Libya.

But for José the worst part is descending to the lower levels of the boat where the poorest have been crowded together without any air. Despite his long experience in humanitarian emergencies and all the things he has witnessed, he says: “The eyes I have seen down there is something I’ve never seen anywhere else.”

Someone is able to swim to the Iuventa.

“Scissooors!” Marina yells, while she tries to rip off the wet clothes of an unconscious boy. “Can you hear me, my friend?” It takes twenty minutes and two people to warm him, then he bursts into tears. “Akhui, fin akhui?” – “Brother, where is my brother?”

Next to him, some women are trying to reassure their babies among the shouts. “We went from Homs to Damascus and then caught a flight to Sudan,” Maai tells me. She has travelled from Syria with those members of her family who are still alive: her two children with their long blonde ringlets, her second husband (the first one was killed in Syria), and her grandfather. She pulls a tablet out of the Barbie-pink schoolbag of her little girl and shows me a number beginning with +963. “Please, whenever you can, send a message to my mother and tell her the children are alive,” she asks me kindly.

Numeri di telefono di parenti di una persona soccorsa dalla Iuventa.

Phone numbers of the relatives of one person rescued by the Iuventa.

War, famine, violence. Some of them thought they would find a better future and instead ended up among corpses, endured torture, and had to beg their relatives for money to pay the traffickers who kept them in check. After travelling like this for months or sometimes years, much as we call them economic migrants, they find themselves in the same condition of those fleeing from wars, facing the impossibility of going back.

The Iuventa is not equipped to take them to Italy, it is only able to transfer them to bigger ships like the MOAS or other Navy ships that are in the same area for Operation Sophia. This operation–which includes the Libyan Coast Guard–follows the Italian operation Mare Nostrum and the EU’s Operation Triton of 2014 and was launched in 2015 with the aim of neutralizing Libyan networks in the Mediterranean. Within a few hours, a German Navy ship responds to the alarm and takes all of the rescued migrants, a grotesque scene with two soldiers searching barefoot and half-naked people on the open sea before allowing them on board.

Almost 3,000 migrants have been rescued in just one day. It is late at night when 240 more people come aboard. The two emergency life rafts are full, with water coming up to people’s knees. At 2 a.m., a fishing boat rushes around the Iuventa at a speed of 4 knots and the captain is forced into making a dangerous U-turn to avoid collision. Dozens of people jump into the pitch-black sea. It is chaos. They try to climb onto the Iuventa. All the crew mobilises to contain the confusion. But by now our ship is over capacity with 309 people on board.

16 April 2017, waiting for assistance

Over the last two days the sea has been a millpond with a light wind blowing from the south: the most favourable days to sail from Libya. A Nigerian boy tells us that smugglers asked him for an extra 150 euros to put him on one of the first boats, ensuring him that they would save him. Maggy listens indignantly. “Did you hear that? Traffickers take advantage of anything and anyone just to make money.”

“I paid 2,000 euros; a Libyan smuggler gave me a false employment contract,” Mohamed, from Agadir, in the south of Morocco, reveals. For a young man or woman aged between 18 and 40 without a European ‘pedigree’ or a bank account containing millions, obtaining a visa for Europe is impossible; however, with a European passport, you can get a visa for Morocco in five minutes at the airport, for free. “For all that money I thought I was going to travel on a safe boat, I’m not crazy!” he adds in exhaustion, his lips chapped from dehydration.

Una delle persone salvate dalla Juventa nei giorni di Pasqua 2017.

One of the people rescued by the Iuventa during Easter.  

But today the sea turns rough. The waves have reached two metres when the captain sends out a Mayday, together with two more NGOs. “The Sea Eye is packed with people and they have some corpses on board,” Maggy explains. The Italian Coast Guard is busy with a massive operation and take several hours to respond. Meanwhile, the Iuventa–with 309 people on board and surrounded by big waves–finds itself at the mercy of the wind, waiting for help.

Everything sways dreadfully, women at the bow sing loudly to fight back their fear. But as much as they try to keep calm, seasickness soon strikes. Everyone vomits, but after three days at sea on an empty stomach, only bile fills the bags. Mohamed, Anouar, and Taher relentlessly help those who need to use the bathroom and have to zigzag between heaps of bodies to get there.

Wrapped up in space blankets, which make a terrible noise as they shake in the wind, Jan carries a Nigerian girl who is three months pregnant and had collapsed in the hospital cabin. “She was passing away before our eyes,” Caterina says, her hands still trembling, “we couldn’t find a vein, she was so thin.”

Couscous and water are distributed with the utmost frugality. “The worst enemy on a boat is chaos,” Kai explains, “any panicky movement could make us sink.”

“I cannot eat,” a boy from Ghana says with an empty look of malnutrition in his eyes. “He took two!” screams a Nigerian, causing a tense and terrifying hum before Daniel leaps in to restore order.

After 30 hours of cold, hunger, fear, vomit, and water thrown on board by the waves, the Italian Coast Guard manages to organise a rescue operation that looks like something out of a movie. A 250-metre tanker stops 20 metres away from the Iuventa to protect it from the waves and allow the Save the Children ship to transfer the 309 people on board. Everyone is excited: the crew of Save the Children as well as the Iuventa, and all the passengers who can finally say “I survived.”

“When they ask me what it was like, what should I say?” Laura asks herself. “If I hear a conspiracy theory or a racist remark, will I be able to control myself?” Caterina wonders, but she has already made up her mind: this will certainly not be her last mission.

 

Translation by Lucrezia De Carolis. Proofreading by Alex Booth.
Cover photo: an overloaded Iuventa in rough seas is approached by the tanker that will assist the transfer of passengers.
All photos in the article are by Giulia Bertoluzzi for Open Migration.

Migrant crisis: MOAS for #SafeAndLegalRoutes

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Two years ago, August 30, 2014, MOAS (Offshore Migrant Aid Station) has conducted its first relief operation in the Mediterranean, when about 250 Syrians and Palestinians were rescued. Established after humanitarian disaster in the Strait of Sicily on October 2013, this NGO has been witness to the terrible humanitarian tragedy that is still ongoing. Now, MOAS promotes the campaign #SafeAndLegalRoutes which “are the only conceivable way forward has been cemented by our experiences on the maritime crossings. We call – said MOAS statement – , therefore, on the international community not to allow this unnecessary loss of life to become ‘the new normal’ when it is so clearly avoidable.MOAS was founded as a disaster relief organisation, the first private search and rescue NGO of its kind in the Mediterranean, designed to mitigate the deadly consequences of the migration crisis. “

MOAS rescued about 25,000 people in the last two years: The horrors MOAS has been witness to only serve to reinforce our belief that no one deserves to die at sea. Today, with two years’ experience on the frontlines of this, the most devastating humanitarian catastrophe of our generation, MOAS calls for the creation of safe and legal alternatives to the deadly sea crossing, to ensure that those seeking to pursue their right to asylum are able to do so without risking their lives”.

This emergency has not already ended as demonstrated by 6,500 people saved on August 29 by MOAS.

 

Photo Credit: ©MOAS.eu/jason florio 2016 all rights reserved

Immigration: 2,900 people rescued

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About 2900 people saved in 21 procedures in Mediterranean Sea. These are the numbers of missions organized by the Italian Coast Guard and Minister of Transport.
To intervene, as part of the Triton, assisted by the European Union, CP906 ship courses and two class 300 patrol boats of the Coast Guard, and a Spanish military ship. Also engaged in rescue ship Euro Italian Navy, a unit of the Guardia di Finanza, an English Irish militaries, and the Moas ship Phoenix, now indispensable for the Italian authorities in many rescues conducted since April.

6000 landings during last weekend, homeless shelters are collapsing

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About 6,000 migrants are rescued in the Mediterranean and arrived in Sicily in the first weekend of June. Thanks to satellite calls from dinghies, the italian Coast Guard was able to coordinate the many relief efforts. While Frontex, which made use of military boats of different European nationalities, run very well. Just as important were the aid provided by NGOs, such as MSF or Moas, which has rescued more than 2000 people.

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Whereas the British newspaper The Guardian claims that at least 500,000 migrants will land on Italian shores by the end of 2015, despite the Italian and European authorities try to stop any alarmism, situation is dramatic.

Palermo and Trapani have received 860 and 548 people each one. These numbers are set to rise in the coming hours. If the rescue at sea have worked through cooperation at the European level of military vessels in the Mediterranean, mainly British, Irish, German and Swedish, places such as Caritas or shelters seem close to collapse.

“In Palermo there is no enough capable bridge structure. We are in an emergency especially in view of the number of people ready to leave Libya. It will be a summer of fire. We put the volunteers in the field and do not pull back,” he reported in La Repubblica Don Sergio Mattaliano, Director of Caritas of Palermo.

40 % of migrants, Syrians, Sudaneses and Eritreans, after initial reception, seeking money to leave for big cities like Rome, Milan, Turin or Bologna. Like in Greece, many of them have to plan to reach Germany, Sweden and Norway. Others, including a large part of minors, remain inside the shelters, only to be routed to other centers located throughout Italy.

Moas has also involved. It haven’t never rescued so many migrants like in these two last days: “This was the single largest back-to-back operation in which M.Y. Phoenix was involved. Within minutes of locating one overcrowded vessel, we spotted another and then another. This kept happening until we found ourselves involved in the rescue of five boats carrying more than 2,000 migrants (6400 since last August) between them”, Ret’d Lt Col. Ian Ruggier who was coordinating efforts on board M.Y. Phoenix said.

“Since proving our capabilities, we have received a huge amount of support from people all over the world who have refused to sit back and watch desperate people drown. Now, our effort also seems to have inspired a number of other organisations to offer their own vessels to the cause. This is a great example of civil society responding to a global problem. We are incredibly proud of what we’re witnessing”, MOAS founder Christopher Catrambone said.
Giacomo Pratali

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Moas, Xuereb: “Immigration in Mediterrean sea is an International issue that requires a Global solution”

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Immigration has become an International issue. The European Union and Onu try to find a solution to this emergency because Italy and Malta can’t be left alone. To talk about these questions, European Affairs has interviewed Martin Xuereb, Director of Migrants Offshore Aid Station (Moas).

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When and why was Moas founded?

“Moas was setup in 2014 in Malta. The idea came to Regina and Christopher Catambrone after that 400 migrants drowned close to Lampedusa during the summer of 2013. After the visit of the Pope in Lampedusa, again in 2013, when he made an appeal to help these people in any possible way, Regina and Christopher had the spark. They started thinking about an organization to save lives in Mediterranean context because none deserves to die out at sea. I became involved in February of 2015, when they proposed this project to me to help, aid and save migrants’ lives”. We are a private entity and we depend on the donations people make. We hope that our message, that life is precious no matter who the person is, ispires others to donate.

 

What’s yours working activity?

“We started this project last year. We went out at sea where after a 16-day operation we saved 3000 people. We came back in September and October. At the end of October, we started thinking about an operation in 2015. Now, one thing that is very different from 2014, it’s our partnership with Msf. They have taken over and provided host rescue assistance. Moas has a 40 metre boat (Phoenix). Again, it’s two Remote Piloted Aircraft and two RHIBs (rigid-hulled inflatable boats) that can react and fly if there is higher requirement of information: they are coordinated by the Rescue Coordination Center. Then, we have two dinghies that can be deployed if there is a boat out at sea that needs assistance. The choice to take migrants on board is taken in coordination with the Rescue Coordination Centre. When migrants are on boats, Msf, with their doctors , nurses and logistics thing will take over to provide them with medical care and to feed them”.

 

How are competences learned during humanitarian rescues on the high seas important?

“Searching rescue is very challenging. You need capability, knowledge and attitude to most risk. Obviously, you need to work for the love of it, but more importantly you need to be able to do professionally rescues because we are dealing with people’s lives”.
What were results in the last year?

“3000 people were saved in 60 days of operation in 2014. In 2015, starting from May 2nd, we have rescued 1,441people, from unseaworthy boats in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. MOAS carried out six separate rescue missions, providing shelter and lifejackets to 106 children, 211 women and 1,124 men on board the 40-metre (130 ft.) vessel M.Y. Phoenix”.

 

What institutions and entities you are collaborating with?

“First of all is Rome’s Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre. Then, we are receiving the support of the Rescue Coordination Centre in Malta. They have the responsibility to coordinate rescue missions and we are happy to receive tasks from them. Their relationship is very positive. They’re very much aware of our capability, of the fact that we do not only have boats out at sea, but we also have drones and clinic on board. While like every other boat out there, we have legal obligation to assist boats in distress: we have made it our mission. The difference between us and merchant ships is that our mission is that of saving lives.
After European Council tripled Triton’s funding, have immigration became an European issue?

“I think that this is an International issue that requires a Global solution. We are saying that Europe should not be weak. We would want to see a wider perspective. I need to say this because everyone needs to be aware that most of the rescues are being conducted in International waters. Why should Italy take responsability by itself when rescues are conducted in International waters? Rescue missions should be coordinated by someone else. We think that people should come to the rescue: not only states, but also private companies and entities. As Moas, in conjunction with Msf, we want to bring on the table a new modus operandi”.
Giacomo Pratali

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Moas: more than 1400 migrants saved since beginning of May

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The search and rescue charity Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) helped rescue 1,441 people in just 12 days in back-to-back sea rescues from unseaworthy boats in the central Mediterranean Sea.
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After starting its season on May 2, MOAS carried out six separate rescues, providing shelter and lifejackets to 106 children, 211 women and 1,124 men on board the 40-metre (130 ft.) vessel M.Y. Phoenix. Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) provided post-rescue assistance including medical care.

The vessel was expected to return to its home base in Malta for restocking earlier on Thursday, May 14th, however the crew decided to continue at sea as it detected an aging wooden boat with 561 people on board, including 60 children. Hundreds of people, mostly from Eritrea, were at risk of suffocation crammed down below the deck of the 18-metre (59 ft.) wooden boat.

Speaking about the latest rescue, MOAS founder and crew member Christopher Catrambone said: “Our search and rescue crew has never seen anything like it. People just kept coming up from the hold in an endless stream of humanity.”

“Some of them have told us terrible stories of persecution and escape. These people have no freedom. They have nothing,” Catrambone said, adding that rescued migrants reported poor conditions and treatment from their time spent in Libya.

As part of the operation, M.Y. Phoenix cooperated fully with Rome’s Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre and other vessels in the area, transferring a number of migrants to merchant vessels and in one case also to the British warship MHS Bulwark. In this case, M.Y. Phoenix transferred 188 people with 15 different nationalities who were rescued earlier from two separate dinghies.

M.Y. Phoenix is currently on its way to Messina (Italy) to disembark 407 people who are currently receiving medical attention.

The MSF team onboard reports that the health status of people is generally good due to being rescued early in their journey. This year, the M.Y. Phoenix is operating close to Libyan coast and flying two Schiebel Camcopter S-100 drones inside Libyan airspace, allowing MOAS to locate and rescue people sooner.

The largest rescue ever carried out by M.Y. Phoenix came just one day after the European Commission presented the European Agenda on Migration with new proposals to address the migration crisis in the Mediterranean.

Solutions include the shared responsibility for asylum seekers across all member states and preventing deaths at sea.

Close to 3,600 migrants were rescued from overcrowded boats sailing from Africa to Europe over the past 48 hours, Italian officials said Thursday. Relatively calm sea conditions typically encourage more crossings.

Mohamed, a 23-year-old from Somalia, shared his harrowing tale: “On the boat it was very difficult. There is no space and no captain that knows how to drive the boat. People get really scared, especially when the waves are big. We are not even sure of the direction we need to take. The smugglers point in a direction and tell us to keep going that way.”

In 2015 alone, 1,826 migrants are thought to have died while crossing the Mediterranean already so far this year. However, the statistics are unreliable as many of those who made the attempt have vanished, according to new research released by VU University Amsterdam early this week.

The surge in migrants crossing the Mediterranean has prompted the EU Security Council to draft a resolution that would grant European countries to use military force to seize suspected smuggling ships on the high seas or in Libya’s territorial waters. The resolution will be discussed during the EU ministers’ talks on Monday, May 18.
Redazione

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Moas, droni e medici in soccorso ai migranti

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Migrant Offshor Aid Station (MOAS) insieme a “Medici senza frontiere” ha lanciato lo scorso 2 maggio la missione di soccorso nel mediterraneo in aiuto alle imbarcazione in difficoltà dei crescenti flussi migratori verso l’Europa.

Il MOAS con la usa nave M.Y. Phoenix di quaranta metri presidia il tratto di mare che divide l’Italia alle coste libiche e che ha visto naufragare e affondare tanti barconi carichi di speranze.

Questa missione è una risposta concreta alla grande crisi umanitaria che si è accesa in questi mesi con l’avanzare della guerra e del califfato nero.
MOAS.EU_infographicsIl dibattito su cosa fare e come farlo si è acceso lentamente spinto soprattutto dalla pressione dell’opinione pubblica ma ancora senza una risposta concreta mentre in quel tratto di mare i barconi continuano a partire e affondare.

La risposta concreta sono i quaranta metri di nave, i due Droni CAMCOPTER S100 che partono per monitorare le condizioni delle imbarcazioni sospette e  il team formato da  due medici e un’infermiera messi a disposizione da Medici senza Frontiere.

Second rescue_lr“Mentre gli altri dibattono ancora circa i pro e i contro del salvare vite umane, noi restiamo convinti che nessuno merita di annegare” ha detto il direttore di MOAS Martin Xuereb. “L’anno scorso abbiamo salvato circa 3000 persone in 60 giorni, quest’anno staremo in mare per sei mesi per soccorre tutti coloro che per una ragione o l’altra hanno deciso di intraprendere un viaggio così rischioso nel Mediterraneo. Nel 2015, abbiamo deciso di avere a bordo MSF per rendere la missione MOAS ancora più efficiente. Siamo estremamente orgogliosi di poter offrire la nostra competenza e il nostro supporto ai centri di coordinamento Italiani e Maltesi per lo scopo comune di salvare vite umane” ha continuato Xuereb

MOAS è composto da volontari, professionisti della sicurezza, personale medico, e ufficiali marittimi esperti che si impegnano  per aiutare a prevenire ulteriori catastrofi in mare.

La ONG è stata fondata da Christopher Catrambone e Regina Catrambone che nel 2006 hanno fondato a Tangeri, un’azienda leader a livello mondiale specializzata in assicurazione e assistenza in situazioni d’emergenza. Dopo i 400 migranti annegati nei pressi dell’isola italiana di Lampedusa nel 2013, i Catrambone decisero di fondare MOAS.

Essi sperano che l’iniziativa umanitaria ispirare gli altri a livello globale a contribuire nel dissipare ciò che Papa Francesco chiama “globalizzazione di indifferenza”.
Drone takeoff_lrIl direttore delle operazioni Martin Xuereb è nato a Malta, ha una laurea in Scienze e un Diploma in Sociologia presso l’Open University in seguito ha conseguito un master in Studi Internazionali al Kings College di Londra, e si è formato in Italia e nel Regno Unito presso la Royal Military Academy Sandhurst e il Royal College of Studi per la Difesa.

Durante la sua carriera militare, Xuereb ha condotto molte missioni di aiuto umanitario nel  Kosovo devastato dalla guerra e moltissime altre missioni di ricerca e soccorso sono state portate a termine durante il suo mandato di capo della Difesa di Malta.

Professionalità, esperienza e passione sono gli ingredienti fondamentali di questa organizzazione che lo scorso anno ha salvato 3.400 persone in 60 giorni, questa missione durerà 6 mesi.

Il MOAS è una organizzazione non governativa senza fini di lucro che mantiene tutta la sua organizzazione grazie alle donazioni che possono essere fatte anche on line sul loro sito www.moas.eu , anche un solo piccolo contributo permetterà ala nave un ora di navigazione in più, ai droni di sollevarsi ancora, ai medici di restare in mare ancora e salvare tante vite umane.

 

Alessandro Conte

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