Maltese NGO launches new migrant rescue mission in Mediterranean

Two boats set off from Malta on Monday as the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS), a local non-governmental organization, launched a new migrant rescue mission in the Mediterranean supported by the Emergency medical charity and the Italian Red Cross.

The two vessels, measuring 40 metres and 52 metres, are equipped with high-speed auxiliary rescue vessels and on-board clinics, and are each staffed with a 20-strong crew of seafarers, rescuers, doctors and paramedics, MOAS said in a statement.

The boats will be supported by two drones which will monitor the so-called "dead zone" - the stretch of water closest to the Libyan shore where international migrant rescue missions normally cannot operate.

According to the International Organization for Migration, 2,809 migrants have died or gone missing in the Mediterranean since the start of the year, about 1,000 more than during the first five months of 2015.

"No one deserves to die at sea and yet last month was one of the deadliest on record with as many as 1,000 having perished in the Mediterranean. Hundreds more will continue to die unless we bolster the professional search and rescue effort," MOAS founder Christopher Catrambone said.

His organization, founded in 2014, has saved more than 13,000 migrants in several previous offshore missions in the central Mediterranean, the Aegean between Greece and Turkey, and south-east Asia.

Other NGOs are already patrolling the deadly sea route between Libya and Italy, such as Sea Watch and SOS Mediterranee, both from Germany.

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49
Author: 

More from Europe

Britain's May woos investors, soothes voters in Davos

Britain will emerge as the global champion of free trade after leaving the European Union, British Premier Theresa...

Germany and Austria push for extension of border controls

Germany and Austria want to extend controls at their border amid ongoing security threats, the countries' interior...

Russia rejects European court ruling to pay former Yukos shareholders

Russia's Constitutional Court has rejected a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights to pay almost 2 billion...

'Many dead' in hotel after avalanche in Italy quake zone

Some 30 people are trapped and many feared dead in a mountain resort hotel that was buried by what rescuers...

One dead after central Italy hit by series of quakes

One person was killed on Wednesday when a building collapsed during four powerful quakes that shook central Italy on...