The Malta Independent 20 August 2019, Tuesday

Private rescue operation hailed as ‘an example to European Union states’

Friday, 16 January 2015, 19:41 Last update: about 6 years ago

MEP Roberta Metsola today visited the Migrant Offshore Aid Station, praising the private rescue initiative as “an example to all EU states”.

Dr Metsola is the deputy coordinator of the European People's Party (EPP) within the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE).

She visited the M.Y. Phoenix, the boat being used by MOAS, where she met founders Christopher and Regina Catrambone, director Brig. Martin Xuereb and other members of the crew that helped save 3,000 lives in the Mediterranean Sea last summer.

“The commitment shown by MOAS in saving thousands of lives at sea is an example to all EU States. It is projects like this that will help combat the 'culture of indifference' that surrounds the issue of migrations on so many fronts,” she said.

“The thousands of lives saved by MOAS shines a light on the inaction by some EU Governments in this respect. We need a successful holistic approach to migration and any approach must start with saving lives. Inaction risks further tragedies in our seas. EU States cannot shirk their responsibility just because they are not geographically in the Mediterranean,” she added.

Dr Metsola concluded: “Too many people have lost their lives crossing the Mediterranean. This is a European issue that requires a European solution."

This was Dr Mestola’s first official visit after being appointed Shadow Minister for Foreign and EU Affairs within Malta’s Nationalist Party. She was joined also by the Nationalist Party’s spokesman for migration Francis Zammit Dimech.

Brig. Xuereb thanked Dr Metsola for her support and said he looked forward to meeting the rest of the LIBE committee to present MOAS’ vision and ideas as a stakeholder in the realm of search and rescue in the Mediterranean Sea.

“The MOAS doors are always open and we hope today’s visit inspires other visits by officials and heads of other institutions who are interested in this issue,” Brig. Xuereb said.

“MOAS is not currently in operation. Our focus is on raising funds and finding the necessary partners to be able to ensure a sustainable operation this year. The response has been phenomenal and we have already collected more than €60,000 from the general public,” he added.

The Mediterranean Sea is the deadliest migrant crossing in the world and has already claimed 3,419 lives this year alone as smugglers cram hundreds of people in unseaworthy boats.

 

MOAS is equipped with a ship, two rescue RHIBs and two drones which help to locate migrant vessels in distress.

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