We have all heard of the superheroes that fill our imaginations like Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man. They rescue those in distress and are rewarded for their help in society. However, we are unaware of the real heroes that walk this earth with us. Among them is Christopher Catrambone, a Hurricane Katrina victim, who has saved 3,000 lives in a matter of 60 days. He does not have x-ray vision nor does he have fancy gadgets. What does he have? A yacht upgraded not for pleasure, but for saving lives.
Catrambone had lost everything during Hurricane Katrina and found a new home in Malta, an island south of Italy. Initially, he wanted to establish a conflict-zone insurance, regarding the strife going on in Syria and Israel. As he was celebrating his success on a cruise to the “most beautiful beaches in the world” (1), he noticed a jacket floating in the water. He said that it most likely belonged to a migrant who was going from North Africa to Italy. Catrambone couldn’t bear to see that by visiting these beaches, tourists would not only see shells wash up, but also see the bodies of migrants would be washing up as well.
About 130,000 migrants and asylum seekers have made this journey this year to date, which is a big increase from the numbers in 2013. The migrants left their country and came to Europe to start a new life since they can’t live their lives in Syria and Israel. You’re probably wondering: why are these migrants losing their lives? The main reason is that there are smugglers and criminal gangs that are swarming the Mediterranean Sea, waiting for boats to pass by. Once they spot one, they ram into it from behind, making it sink faster. As soon as the ship sinks completely, they leave, laughing. Some say that they are wanting to take the money on the ships to make their lives a little easier to live. Others, including me, think that they are sadistic and evil, laughing at the misery they cause.
To save these people, he, along with his wife, Regina, and 18-year-old daughter, Maria Luisa, went on a voyage to save lives and have started the operation called MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station). They bought the Phoenix, a regular yacht, and transformed it to make it a search-and-rescue vessel. They hired an experienced team of paramedics and rescuers, equipped the yacht with an infirmary and state-of-the-art technology. With this yacht, the Catrambones hoped to bring more people to shore from one country to another, and their hopes were definitely fulfilled.
In the past two months, they rescued 3,000 people from the Mediterranean waters. The Malta forces have also started to help and because of this philanthropy, more migrants than ever are reaching the shores of Italy. The criminal gangs have no chance against MOAS. However, running this operation isn’t cheap. It requires $450,000 a month and so once they raise enough money, they are striving to continue the rescue mission.
Lavanga, Claudio. “Hurricane Katrina Survivor Now Saves Lives in Mediterranean Sea.” NBC News. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2014. <http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/europes-border-crisis/hurricane-katrina-survivor-now-saves-lives-mediterranean-sea-n227066>.
Lavanga, Claudio, Alexander Smith, and Lawahez Jabari. “Deadly Migrant Shipwreck Off Malta Highlights Desperation.” NBC News. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2014. <http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/europes-border-crisis/deadly-migrant-shipwreck-malta-highlights-desperation-n205441>.