MOAS stands for Migrant Offshore Aid Station. It is a Malta-based non-governmental organisation, which set itself the task of patrolling the Mediterranean and rescuing people in high seas, lifting them up from dinghies, rafts and boats onto the Phoenix, the MOAS-owned trawler, a vessel complete with drones for scanning the waters, and ferrying migrants from places several miles off the Libyan shore to Sicily. The organisation is run by Chris Catrambone (35) and his wife Regina.
Chris Catrambone, a Louisiana-born American, having graduated from college, ran and owned a steamboat restaurant, worked at the U. S. Congress in Washington, D.C., and then landed a job as an insurance investigator. In this capacity he was sent to the world’s most dangerous places, such as, among others, Iraq and Afghanistan. Having gathered enough experience, and accidentally survived the 2005 Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana, a year later Chris Catrambone (25) founded Tangiers Group, a global business specialising in “insurance, emergency assistance, on-the-ground claims handling, and intelligence services.”1)Christopher Catrambone, My Story. Initially operating from the USA, in order to better handle the expanding enterprise, he relocated his business to Italy (where he met his future wife) and then to Malta. It is here that in 2013 Chris Catrambone (32) founded the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) to assist the third-world population in crossing the sea in search of a better life. Catrambone and his wife are said to have spent 8 million of their own money towards this end because, as the MOAS founder confessed, he, too, once had lost his home due to Katrina, so now he understood the plight of others.
Ian Ruggier is a member of the MOAS board. This erstwhile Maltese major made headlines with the plan that he had forged to curb the rioting migrants in Malta. The police units were told to surround the crowd and select, isolate and overpower ringleaders, which was supposed to prevent further demonstrations. Yet something went wrong and it came to blows, with pro-immigrant organisations raising a huge outcry and the courts having the case on their hands.2)How the army got it wrong, Times of Malta.com 2005-12-19; Officer responsible for disastrous handling of protest promoted, Malta Today 2007-11-18. After a 25-year service Ian Ruggier found employment with MOAS: a man in charge of curbing migrants turned into someone who is on their side: Saul became Paul. Maybe.
What if Ian Ruggier is merely the man whose task it is to ensure that the migrants rescued or smuggled into Europe should not end up in Malta? Why, the MOAS boats are stationed in Malta, from where they operate. Once loaded with immigrants, they pass the port of Valletta and head for Italy to unload their human cargo in Europe.
Robert Young Pelton is MOAS’s strategic consultant3)Robert Young Pelton: Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) and the Syrian Refugee Crisis. and the founder of Migrant Report.4)Migrant Report website. He also owns Dpx (Dangerous Places Extreme) Gear, which sells heavy-duty knives5)Dpx Gear website. to people who go to conflict zones from which, strangely enough, come the people whom his activities within the framework of MOAS and Migrant Report are supposed to help. As a free-lance journalist he came into contact with Eric Prince, the founder of Blackwater, an American private military company (present-day mercenaries) engaged in operations in Afghanistan and Iraq; incidentally Blackwater was also employed in Louisiana, during the time when Hurricane Katrina struck: Chris Catrambone happened to be there at precisely that time. Robert Young Pelton fell out with Eric Prince over financial matters.
But coming back to Chris Catrambone. A young man, a college graduate, someone else’s employee, sets up a company (Tangiers Group), which quickly extends its activities to over fifty countries, bringing in so much profit that a few million can be spared for a charity which is called MOAS. MOAS employs men who were at a time either involved with private military companies or in charge of curbing the influx of people trying to cross the Mediterranean. This non-government organisation is not competing with the European governments in collecting the seafarers: rather it complements them, in recognition for which his founder receives awards.6)MOAS, young hero among those honoured on Republic Day, Malta Today 2015-12-13.
Some questions arise. How did Chris Catrambone amass such a fortune at an early age on a market of insurance?7)“I had a net worth of $10 million before I was thirty years old. (…) I didn’t grow up with money or luxury. I built everything I have from scratch, through hard work and dedication. At some point, I started seeing myself as getting caught up in the money side of things.” Phoenix Rising. Is his charity just an expression of his own personal convictions? Does he serve any political purpose? His Tangers Group operated in war-stricken zones: by pure chance? He was employed at the U. S. Congress in Washington, D.C. Some of his co-workers happened to be in the same dangerous zones where Tangers Group operated. Again, pure chance?
There appears to be a close relation between MOAS and the Maltese Navy as well as the US military. MOAS is led by a navy officer that is known for his harsh treatment of immigrants; it is promoted by a business partner of Blackwater, which is well known for its ruthless actions against civilians; it is owned by a person who made his fortune taking advantage of the US military operations in Afghanistan, the Middle East and North Africa. The same money that is in one way or another earned by creating mayhem in Africa and the Middle East and causing a refugee crisis is now used to ship thousands of undocumented Africans into the European heartland, causing problems in Italy, France, Greece and Germany. One cannot help but wonder whether the MOAS people are honest saviours or they are on a mission to destabilise Europe even further.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Christopher Catrambone, My Story.|
|2.||↑||How the army got it wrong, Times of Malta.com 2005-12-19; Officer responsible for disastrous handling of protest promoted, Malta Today 2007-11-18.|
|3.||↑||Robert Young Pelton: Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) and the Syrian Refugee Crisis.|
|4.||↑||Migrant Report website.|
|5.||↑||Dpx Gear website.|
|6.||↑||MOAS, young hero among those honoured on Republic Day, Malta Today 2015-12-13.|
|7.||↑||“I had a net worth of $10 million before I was thirty years old. (…) I didn’t grow up with money or luxury. I built everything I have from scratch, through hard work and dedication. At some point, I started seeing myself as getting caught up in the money side of things.” Phoenix Rising.|