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Moas ship finally assisted after being overwhelmed by rescue work

1,500 rescued from nine boats in 24 hours

A crewman of the Malta-based NGO Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) ship Phoenix tends to an unconscious migrant. Photo - Darrin Zammit Lupi (Reuters).

A crewman of the Malta-based NGO Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) ship Phoenix tends to an unconscious migrant. Photo - Darrin Zammit Lupi (Reuters).

Updated 10pm -Forty-one hours after being overwhelmed with the number of migrants who needed to be rescued from the central Mediterranean, the Moas ship Phoenix has been given assistance by a SeaEye Organisation ship and a Tunisian fishing boat, enabling it to head north to disembark migrants. 

Between 1,500-1,800 migrants were rescued from nine boats since Saturday morning. Seven were found dead in a dinghy.

"This weekend is set to be the latest marker in the record-breaking escalation of this ongoing humanitarian crisis at sea," Moas said.

"Since in the early hours of Saturday 15th April, Moas has been involved in the ongoing rescue and assistance of nine boats, carrying an estimated 1,500-1,800 children, women and men between them. Having taken 453 people on board throughout the day, and with the Phoenix at capacity, the Moas crew were left supervising over 1,000 people still crammed on the remaining boats into the night as they waited for assistance to arrive," Moas said.

As darkness fell weather conditions began to deteriorate and the situation became increasingly delicate. The Phoenix and its crew kept watch throughout the night and today, making sure that all those involved in this mass rescue remained safe.

“Every day people continue to risk their lives while we, as civil society, stand witness. We must continue to call on European governments to act so that people, such as those rescued by us today, do not die, not in Libya nor in the Mediterranean Sea”, said Regina Catrambone, Moas co-founder and director.

"This unprecedented situation serves as evidence of the deteriorating humanitarian crisis in the Central Mediterranean.

MOAS Founder, Christopher Catrambone added: “Nobody has ever seen anything like what we are witnessing this weekend. It is a miracle that we have managed to rescue everyone with no casualties today. We are still conducting operations with a new boat contact spotted this early morning. The professional conduct and tireless efforts of our crew are to thank for many lives saved today.”

A Somali migrant carries her 12-day-old baby on board a rigid-hulled inflatable boat. (Darrin Zammit Lupi)A Somali migrant carries her 12-day-old baby on board a rigid-hulled inflatable boat. (Darrin Zammit Lupi)
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