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In five months of operation, the NGO Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) saved over 8,800 lives in the Mediterranean. By spotting and monitoring distressed vessels, Schiebel’s Unmanned Air System CAMCOPTER® S-100 assisted in the rescue and contributed significantly to the success of the mission.

Thousands of refugees have tragically drowned while crossing the world’s deadliest border. Already back in 2014, MOAS and Schiebel rescued more than 2,800 men, women and children. Between May and the end of September 2015, the NGO’s Phoenix, a 40-meter long ship on which the CAMCOPTER® S-100 is stationed, again patrolled the Mediterranean. Under the guidance and coordination of Rome’s Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, to date over 11,600 lives have been saved since the start of the operation in 2014.

The S-100 proved to be a big asset during the operation as it can locate refugee boats by day and night, even in rough sea conditions and at long distances. The camera of the unmanned helicopter delivers daylight and infrared video in real time to the MOAS team. Due to the high quality of the footage, it is not only possible to locate a small ship, even if it is miles away, but also to identify whether it is a fishing boat or a ship in danger.

Operated by Schiebel staff and largely sponsored by Schiebel, the unmanned helicopter serves to considerably extend the reach of the vessel beyond the horizon to increase its area of influence.

MOAS is the first civilian organization to use these high-tech helicopters for humanitarian purposes, allowing them to significantly reduce the death toll. Following the conclusion of 2015’s Mediterranean mission, the NGO planned to continue to monitor the situation closely and resume its operation in 2016.

For those unfamiliar with the organization, MOAS is a group of international humanitarians, security professionals, medical staff, and experienced maritime operators who have combined their resources to help prevent further tragedies at sea. They are passionate about the plight of those seeking a better life and facing dangerous challenges as they try to find a life free from violence. The organization is based in Malta.

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