Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS), a registered privately financed foundation dedicated to preventing loss of life at sea by providing aid, assistance and medical help to migrants who find themselves in distress whilst crossing the Mediterranean Sea in unsafe boats, founded by a philanthropist couple Regina and Christopher Cantrambone, is setting sail for their first migrant assistance mission.
MOAS will act as an aid station to support vessels in need of assistance, coordinating its efforts with other search and rescue authorities around the Mediterranean.
The ultimate aim is to mitigate loss of life at sea. It will not act a migrant ferry and will not rescue migrants exclusively but will use all its resources to assist the respective Rescue Coordination Centres to locate and treat suffering human beings and to save lives where required.
Between August and October of 2014, the MOAS team will sail its 40-metre (130-ft) expedition vessel Phoenix I to major migrant shipping lanes and set anchor. From this fixed point the crew will monitor the area using Remote Piloted Aircraft to locate migrant vessels in distress, using sonar, thermal and night imaging. The minute a boat in distress is located, the respective Rescue Coordination Centre will be informed.
The MOAS crew will then assess the needs of the migrants using two RIBs (Rigid-hulled Inflatable Boats) stocked with water, non-perishable food, life jackets, blankets and medical supplies for speedy distribution.
MOAS is obliged to carry out its tasks in full compliance with the relevant EU law, including the Charter of Fundamental Rights; relevant international law, including the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees from 1951; obligations related to access to international protection, and in particular the principle of non-refoulement; and fundamental rights.
World Maritime News Staff