02 Nov A simple but revolutionary philosophy of saving lives
Anyone switching on the nightly news will be all-too familiar with the images – treacherous seas, terrified faces, desperation and drownings.
The European migrant crisis has dominated political discourse over the past few years since the steady stream of ramshackle boats and dinghies began to embark for safer shores with an overwhelming frequency.
So far, hundreds of thousands of refugees have attempted perilous seas crossings as political instability, war and social upheaval have forced them from their homes in one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises.
But despite the complexity of this issue, Tangiers Group has decided to commit to a simple but revolutionary philosophy: No one deserves to die at sea.
MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station) was established following the drownings of some 400 men, women and children off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa in October 2013.
Like many others watching the harrowing events unfold, Tangiers’ founder Christopher Catrambone and our employees were horrified by the massive loss of life. However, one simple fact stood out: it had been ultimately avoidable.
Within four months, we had recruited international humanitarians, security professionals, medical staff and experienced maritime officers with the aim of providing search and rescue capabilities to some of the world’s busiest migrant sea crossings.
Tangiers also acquired MY Phoenix, a converted 40-metre former fishing boat, along with two six-metre rigid hull inflatable boats and two remotely piloted Schiebel Camcopters – capable of being the ‘eyes-in-the-sky’ of the operation.
This equipment coupled with the highly-trained personnel allows MOAS to assist rescue coordination centres in mitigating loss of life as soon as it is alerted to a vessel in distress.
These adaptable responses include providing food, water, life jackets and emergency medical evaluations and treatment to migrants while working closely with officials to determine the best course of action.
Despite its relatively recent formation, the results have been striking. In just the first two years of operation, MOAS rescued almost 12,000 people.
In August 2014, MOAS began operating the first private rescue ship in the central Mediterranean when it began a 60-day operation off the coast of Libya. In less than two-months, it had performed 10 rescues and administered aid to more than 3,000 migrants.
The need for this type of humanitarian operation has also struck a chord with the public at large.
Following the widely-reported death of three-year-old Syrian child Alan Kurdi in September 2015, MOAS experienced a massive surge in donations as the public expressed its horror at the bodies washing ashore on nearby coastlines.
These donations, as well as corporate support, have allowed MOAS to expand its rescue operations even further afield. The Phoenix has so far been mobilised in the Mediterranean, Aegean and Andaman Seas.
To date, MOAS has saved nearly 30,000 lives.
With continuing political turmoil around the world, the demand for MOAS’ humanitarian capabilities shows no signs of abating. Tangiers Group hopes, however, that those horrifying images of drowned bodies will one day be a thing of the past.
To donate, please visit: www.moas.eu