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A Call to Action: Married Couple launches boat rescue program to help immigrants

2014-09-10

It's called 'The Phoenix' It's over 140 feet long, it carries two boats and it has two small drones that it can launch out at sea, for over six hours, traveling 150 miles per hour. More importantly, it has rescued over 1,500 immigrants. 

It's all part of a private project titled Migrant Offshore Aid Station. It was launched by a Catholic couple that lives in Malta, specifically to rescue immigrants who are stranded along Mediterranean. 

REGINA CATRAMBONE
MOAS, Co-Founder
"The idea came when we were spending hours in summer holidays between Lampedusa and Tunisia. We noticed a jacket, a winter jacket in the water.  Me and my husband  looked at this jacket. The captain was there with us and he told us that probably the person that was wearing this jacket wasn't with us anymore.”

Shortly after that, Regina and her husband Christopher Catrambone say they heard the Pope make a moving call to action, during his visit to the island of Lampedusa. He asked Christians to help any way they could. 

REGINA CATRAMBONE
MOAS, Co-Founder
"That was a big push for us because also, during his speech many times he appealed to everyone to help with our on abilities, with our on skills. So this was like a bell in our heart.” 

In late August they decided to make their idea come to life. So far they've rescued two boats full of stranded immigrants. The team includes rescuers and paramedics. When they see a vessel in distress, they call local authorities and ask for relief. 

This year alone, it's estimated that roughly 100,000 immigrants have traveled to Italy's coastline, escaping war, poverty or persecution. The number of people who didn't make it across the sea successfully though, is unknown. 


JRB/KLH 
MOAS
VM
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