LONDON -- A nonprofit search-and-rescue company founded by an American says it has saved nearly 500 refugees and migrants at risk of drowning, only two days after starting its latest mission in the Mediterranean.
“We have made contact with four boats since June 6, which amounts to 466 people,” a spokeswoman at MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station) told ABC News.
Two vessels are operating as part of this mission: the Phoenix, equipped with two drones, and the Responder. They each have two high-speed rescue boats, a crew of seafarers, rescuers, doctors and paramedics, as well as a fully stocked clinic to provide emergency care.
MOAS believes it has rescued the lives of over 13,000 people since it started operating in 2014.
“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,” Louisiana native and MOAS founder Christopher Catrambone said in a statement.
The entrepreneur and humanitarian added: “Hundreds more will continue to die unless we bolster the professional search and rescue effort.”
Many others are involved in search-and-rescue missions in the Mediterranean.
“Europe is currently experiencing unprecedented migratory flows, driven by geopolitical and economic factors that will continue, and maybe intensify, over the coming years,” the EU commission said in a statement Wednesday, adding that the migration is “fueled by unscrupulous smugglers who seek to benefit from the desperation of the vulnerable.”