The whole world was shocked when pictures of dead bodies stranding on European beaches started to fill every social media platform. It is almost impossible to look away when such horror is happening. That’s why many people are offering their help, either by donating money or giving out food, clothing, and so on. But the Catrambone family took this to a whole other level.
It started in 2013 when Christopher and his wife Regina were on a cruise when they suddenly saw a jacket floating around in the ocean. When they heard it once belonged to a migrant who had probably drowned, they couldn’t stop thinking about the amount of people that died on the Mediterranean. That’s when they decided to take a big step that would change not only their lives but also the lives of many others.
As a start of their big rescue mission, Christopher, who owns a multi-millionaire company, was able to buy a former military training craft and two inflatable boats. To make their job of finding the migrants on the sea easier they also bought two drones that could track down anyone floating around in the water. Their big mission was to spend their summers tracking down migrants that are risking their lives on the water and saving them.
Few years later the Catrambone family has invested $8 million into their organization, which is officially called Migrant Offshore Aid Station or MOAS. What started out as a mission of two people has grown to a strong team of doctors, humanitarians and maritime officers.
When The Guardian asked them about their mission, Christopher responded: “If you are against saving lives at sea then you are a bigot and you don’t even belong in our community. If you allow your neighbour to die in your backyard, then you are responsible for that death.”
How effective is the MOAS?
MOAS, which is one of the first privately funded missions to help migrants at sea has already saved more than 3,000 migrants last year.
Their first rescuing mission took place on August 30th, 2014: they saved a group of 250 Syrians and Palestinians and later on they rescued another group of 96 sub-Saharans. Since that day the numbers of saved migrants have only increased.
When the team finds people who need help, they make sure the children and women are safe first. When they get on board of the Phoenix, which is the name of the boat, they get a full security and medical check. Then they receive food, water and safety.
Seeing these horrible things happening always makes you question humanity, but people like this family and their whole team give you back a little spark of hope.