AMSTERDAM—The international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), was informed yesterday by MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station), that MOAS has decided to stop their current search and rescue operation on the Mediterranean Sea.
As a result, MSF will no longer provide emergency medical assistance and post-rescue care onboard the MOAS ship, the MY Phoenix, as it has done since May 2.
Despite the end of MSF's work onboard the MY Phoenix, MSF remains committed to assisting people in the central Mediterranean with its two MSF-operated search and rescue vessels, the Dignity I and Bourbon Argos. MSF is also assisting migrants and refugees across Europe as well as in countries affected by conflict and humanitarian crises including Syria, Turkey, Ethiopia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Nigeria.
"There is still the need for sustained, proactive and dedicated search and rescue vessels," said Will Turner, MSF emergency coordinator for the MY Phoenix. "So far this year more than 2,800 people have drowned while seeking a life in Europe. As long as conflicts lead to mass displacements, which in turn overwhelm neighboring countries, people in need of safe haven will reach out to Europe. In the absence of safe and legal ways for them to arrive, people will continue to risk their lives, and die, at sea."
In almost five months of operations, the six-person MSF team on board the MY Phoenix has cared for 6,985 people rescued from unseaworthy wooden and rubber boats. Fleeing places including Eritrea, Somalia, Nigeria, Syria, Gambia and Libya, those rescued have told horrific stories of their countries of origin, their journey and their harrowing time in Libya. They have been treated by MSF for conditions including mild dehydration, hypothermia, kidney failure and gunshot wounds.
Since operations began on May 2, MSF teams on board of the MY Phoenix, Bourbon Argos and Dignity I have assisted some 16,113 people on the Mediterranean Sea.