An S-100 UAV Approaches Motor Vessel Phoenix (Image courtesy MOAS)
We've written about the use unmanned air vehicles by maritime conservation organizations. We've also highlighted the use of drones by European navies to support naval forces in interdicting the stream of refugees moving across the Mediterranean from North Africa. In a predictable evolution of this trend, the non-profit Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) group has flown its first unmanned aircraft maritime patrols 30 nautical miles Southeast of Lampedusa, Italy from the motor vessel Phoenix. The two S-100 UAVs embarked on Phoenix and operated by Schiebel technicians will be able to locate and assess migrants in distress. According to MOAS co-founder Chris Catrambone, the drones will act as a "force multiplier" during their 21 day mission to assist navies in rescuing vessels along the most traversed migrant route.