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The Private Sector Tackles Europe’s Migration Crisis

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A Private Sector Solution to the Migrant Crisis – Politico Europe

One of the more interesting pieces I’ve read came from this past weekend’s European edition of Politico. I’ve written myself about Europe’s growing migrant crisis, but I expected that whatever solution was proposed—be it good or bad—would come from European governments. Instead we get this story of Christopher and Regina Catrambone, who saw reports of refugees drowning off Europe’s shores and decided to act themselves. They bought a scientific research vessel in 2014 and founded the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS), and in partnership with Doctors Without Borders have started patrolling European waters. From the Politico piece:

Founded by Christopher and Regina Catrambone in 2014, MOAS is the only private organization of its kind, and has saved the lives of more than 4,500 migrants stranded at sea. The group’s current mission, which began on May 2 and will run until the beginning of October, has already saved around 2000 souls…The M.Y. Phoenix doesn’t fly a national flag. MOAS is a private enterprise, the only one of its kind, so the movement of its vessels across the Mediterranean is virtually uninhibited, a tremendous logistical advantage. The enterprise costs the Catrambones, who describe themselves as “social entrepreneurs,” around € 400,000 a month. A German businessman, Juergen Wagentrotz, donated an additional € 186,000 worth of fuel. Chistopher Catrambone says other organizations have not offered to cooperate. He and his wife finance most of the project, and MOAS operates as a private philanthropy.

To date they’ve rescued over 4,500 migrants stranded at sea, providing them with food, water, clothing and medical care. Their ship doesn’t fly any flag, so it sails undisturbed through the Mediterranean. It’s a private sector solution to a public-sector problem, and the results so far are impressive. The Catrambones pay a substantial amount of the $450,000-a-month operating costs out of their own pockets. While they have found other “social entrepreneurs” like themselves to help defray the costs, they continue to need help with funding. (You can donate to MOAS on their MOAS.)

Most “non-state actors” we tend to hear about these days are terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS that constantly threaten to destabilize the world around them. Every once in a while it’s nice to hear about non-state actors like the Catrambones who are going above and beyond to make the world a better place. My pick of the week.

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