Lest we forget…
Related links: MOAS Phoenix Boat Rescues
Another taster of some of the remarkable work by MOAS‘ Phoenix crew (and various documentarians – through video and photography – including Jason Florio) – rescuing people in distress, from the Mediterranean Sea, as they endeavour to make the treacherous crossing, from Libya to Italy, on seriously overloaded fishing boats and dinghy’s,
Youtube: Night Rescue of boat migrants from West Africa – footage © MOAS_EU/Jason Florio, 2015. All rights reserved.
Foreign Policy: ‘Rare photographs document the rescue of hundreds of migrants‘ all images © MOAS_EU/Jason Florio, 2015. All rights reserved.
Knowing how much dedication and hard work the whole crew, and MSF (Medecins sans Frontieres) – along with photojournalist, Jason Florio – had put into yet another successful mission, I was honoured, to be able to watch, from the vantage point of one of Malta’s ancient ‘Three Cities’, Birgu, as the Phoenix glided into the Grand Harbour, yesterday.
The MOAS owned vessel (migrant offshore aid station) was returning from Sicily, after disembarking, for the fourth time in their three week mission, another boat full of rescued migrants. from the Bouri oil fields area – which lie about 40km off the coast of Libya, in the Mediterranean Sea.
Then, a quick dash through the back streets of Malta (thanks to Charlie, the MOAS driver, whose Maltese style of driving invariably brings the the contents of my stomach up to my throat!) towards the Bezzina Boat Yard , to catch the Phoenix as it docked, and the crew disembarking, smiles, laughter – and a few tears – happy to be welcomed by family and friends. And, perhaps with some relief, to have a little respite from the exhaustive, and often emotionally-charged, rescues of hundreds of men, women, children, and babies – many of whom, openly sharing their hellacious experiences of war, persecution, rape, abduction, and extortion. And, then, to be pushed out to sea – for many, their first time ever on open water – in battered, old, wooden fishing boats, originally made to hold a small crew of fishermen, not the 400 plus people, crammed onto (and below the decks of) most of them.
Saturday 27th June, 2015, Malta
The Phoenix/MOAS crew get ready to embark on another rescue mission, heading down to the Bouri oil fields, off the coast of Libya. Photographer, Jason Florio, is on board again for his second mission, documenting the migrant rescues.
Wishing them a very safe journey and the best of luck, out there.
‘For the media, it can be a difficult story to cover. Drownings in remote ocean locales are not places that reporters and photographers can reach easily or rapidly. All too often, the boats they seek to find are lost to the depths before anyone can arrive. So the images the world sees of the migrant crisis are usually those of survivors being led ashore from rescue vessels. Rarely do we see the moment rescuers reach migrants in open waters.
That’s what makes these images so remarkable…’ Read the full feature in Foreign Policy here.
All images © MOAS_EU/Jason Florio, 2015. All rights reserved.
Related Post: Youtube – Hazardous night rescue of migrants, by MOAS
“Some of them were a little bit nervous when they saw the HMS Bulwark show up on the horizon,” Florio said from aboard the organization’s 130-foot ship, the Phoenix. “But I think they were just thankful they weren’t floating around in a rubber dinghy anymore.” Jason Florio. MOAS, 2015 migrant rescues, on-board photographer, talks about transferring migrants, rescued by MOAS, to HMS Bulwark. Read more, and see more of Florio’s images, on the VICE News website.
For more press, check out our Press page
Three migrant women intoxicated by fuel fumes are taken onto the merchant vessel Orient Green by the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) search and rescue team.
They were aboard a rubber dinghy carrying 104 migrants (predominantly Gambians, from West Africa) who were later also all transferred onto the Orient Green by MOAS after being given life jackets and water.
They were not transferred onto the Phoenix because the vessel already had 369 people on board and was therefore already overloaded.
MOAS founder Christopher Catrambone was the lead rescuer on this mission.
This rescue took place on May 3rd 2015. Watch footage here