The Slatest

Donations Surge to Privately Run Mediterranean Refugee Rescue Ship

The Migrant Offshore Aid Station ship in Messina, Italy in May.

Giovanni Isolino/AFP/Getty

European governments are scrambling to accommodate more Mediterranean and Middle East refugees this week as the world reacts to alarming images like those of Aylan Kurdi’s dead body and of refugees marching toward Austria along a main Hungarian highway. Concerned observers interested in taking direct action, the Guardian reports, have meanwhile inundated a charity that runs a migrant/refugee rescue ship called the Migrant Offshore Aid Station with donations:

The Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) … told the Guardian it had seen individual donations hit €150,000 (£110,000) in the past 24 hours, with numbers climbing fast. Its previous highest day was €10,000.


MOAS said money was coming in from around the world whereas normally donors are restricted to Germany and other central European countries. “We never really saw so many come from the UK or US before, but now there are hundreds,” a spokesman said.


(One Euro is currently worth about $1.11.)

The MOAS operation was launched by Christopher and Regina Catrambone, a married couple; Christopher Catrambone is from Lousiana (his wife is Italian) and has made millions of dollars running a company called the Tangiers Group that provides services (insurance, evacuations, etc.) in crisis zones. MOAS typically works between Libya and Italy, operates two search drones and two inflatable boats in addition to the vessel pictured above, and is staffed in part by the highly regarded aid group Médecins Sans Frontières, a.k.a. Doctors Without Borders. You can donate to MOAS here.

Also in Slate, see the latest photographs from the European refugee crisis.

Read more of Slate’s coverage of the European migrant crisis.