According to the Times of Malta newspaper, the rescue was carried out by Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS), its third mission in the central Mediterranean within a week.
The rescue was made by the Phoenix, the 40-metre vessel being used by MOAS. It was directed to the location of a rubber dinghy by Rome’s Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre late on Friday.
On board were 97 people, including four women, one of whom was six-months pregnant. The pregnant woman made the journey alone, except for a female friend who she met in Libya.
The rescued migrants had spent around 12 hours at sea after leaving Libya. They were originally from Gambia, Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Niger, Mali, Sierra Leone and Benin. They were disembarked at Porto Empedocle last night.
MOAS is a private NGO initiative to save lives in the Mediterranean Sea. Its aim is to provide assistance at sea in co-ordination with the Rescue Coordination Centres in the region.
“In previous rescues we were able to transfer the migrants onto Italy’s Mare Nostrum vessels, allowing us to immediately return to other rescue operations. This enables us to use our resources more effectively to save lives,” said founder Christopher Catrambone.
MOAS has assisted Italy’s Mare Nostrum mission with the rescue of more than 2,300 migrants since its first operation started on August 26. All migrants have been handed over to the Italian authorities.
Regina Catrambone launched an urgent appeal for donations. “Now that Mare Nostrum is coming to an end, the urgency to save lives is even greater. We are very grateful to all the people around the world who have donated to MOAS, but there is still a long way to go until we can ensure future missions,” she said.
She thanked US-based NGO Medical Bridges which donated a large amount of medical supplies that have been crucial to the operation and hoped that others will come forward with offers for assistance.
“We are now at a juncture. We have shown that with initiative and determination lives can be saved. We are now asking for support so that we can continue our mission in November and December.”]]>