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

More from Europe

Italy police arrest seven linked to online global paedophile network

Seven paedophiles linked to a global online network that counted tens of thousands of affiliates have been arrested...

Turkey now top 10 destination for German arms amid refugee crisis

Turkey has jumped into the top 10 in the rankings of destinations for German arms exports as Ankara responds to...

EU proposes corporate tax reforms to cut red tape, tackle abuse

The European Commission unveiled proposals Tuesday aimed at streamlining corporate tax rules across EU member states...

EU Parliament lifts Le Pen immunity over alleged racial slur

The European Parliament on Tuesday lifted the immunity of Jean-Marie Le Pen, the founder of France's far-right...

Sweden lowers projection for number of asylum seekers in 2016

Tighter border checks introduced by the European Union and individual European states were Tuesday cited as the main...