According to the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR, over 19,000 people drowned while fleeing in the Mediterranean Sea between 2014 to 2019. After several documentations, the causes of refugee dramas heavily relates to boats in desolate conditions, lack of navigation facilities as well as rescue teams arriving too late. Various governmental and civil aid organizations are actively working around the Mediterranean to help stem the flow of refugees. In this context, HPI, in cooperation with Sea-Water, it taking on the task of civil air reconnaissance.
OBJECTIVES OF THE MOONBIRD OPERATION
In order to provide support to local government and civil organizations in their sea rescue efforts, HPI organizes a civil air reconnaissance over the Mediterranean Sea. The goal is to report the position as well as the condition of the refugee boats to the rescue control center MRCC Rome. This will assist the local relief organizations to help as effectively as possible.
WHY ARE SEARCH FLIGHTS NECESSARY?
With an aircraft, a larger area can be searched in a timelier manner in comparison to a ship. Refugee boats can be location quickly, the conditions clarified, and the aid ships guided effectively. This saves times, energy, and finances. Triage, and rescue operations can thus be carried out more efficiently.
Many refugee boats leave Libya and travel towards southern Italy. Most aid organization are active off the Libyan Coast, where the aid is heavily required. HP1 therefore begins the search flights off the Libyan Coast.
A STRONG PARTNERSHIP
HPI has been operating Operation Moonbird together with Sea-Watch since 2017.
The combination of the know-how of the sea rescue and aviation has successfully led to Moonbird operating very efficiently in their important contribution to sea rescues. In 2017, more than 119 boats in distress were rescued.