No one knows the exact number of migrants and refugees from war zones and violent and repressed states, who have died crossing the Mediterranean Sea over the years, but it is estimated 3,400 victims drowned making the perilous crossing from North Africa to Europe in 2014. The creation of Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) was inspired by a string of catastrophes involving people attempting the crossing in unseaworthy vessels in recent years.
MOAS was founded by American philanthropists Christopher Catrambone and his wife Regina, who have invested EUR8 million in the project. Following the 2013 loss of hundreds of migrant lives off the Italian island of Lampedusa, the couple heeded Pope Francis’ appeal to entrepreneurs to do what they could to help prevent further catastrophes in the Mediterranean.
As the first privately-funded mission to assist migrants at sea, its members comprise international humanitarians, security professionals, medical staff and experienced maritime officers. They are passionate about the plight of those seeking a better life, free of violence, despite the dangers they face.
MOAS is an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) supported by donors and private individuals operating to the highest standards of maritime, humanitarian ethics, primary medical care, search and rescue technology.