Photojournalism Series award-winning image © Jason Florio/MOAS – ‘Destination Europe‘
01/15/16: Pulled from my bunk at 11.45pm, by the sound of the 2-way radio next to my bed, crackling to life. One of the MOAS crew, on watch up on the bridge, saw a ping on the radar that went fast and then stopped – he raised the alarm and within 20 minutes we were at the scene. Screams from the dark, the odd flash of a reflector on a life jacket, an overturned white speed boat, with a blue hull. Old men, women, and children were hauled and pulled, their heaviness (not just from the weight of the water, but the weight of children strapped onto their mothers), onto the FRDC. We plucked and pulled, responding to yells from the void.
All came home alive and safe (to the Topaz Responder), except for three babies, who had already perished before we reached their capsized boat… one mother lost two.
A sad night on the front line.
MOAS – #onemore campaign – ‘a Malta-based registered foundation, dedicated to preventing loss of life by providing professional search-and-rescue assistance to people in distress at sea or trapped on unsafe vessels.’
Jason Florio – 2015 itinerary, to-date:
January-December 2015: the beginning of the year saw Florio and his photography producer wife, Helen Jones-Florio, basing out of West Africa, working on various assignments, plus personal long-term photo projects. Since May, they have been basing out of the small Mediterranean island of Malta, when Florio began working with MOAS – Migrant Offshore Aid Station – on board the Phoenix boat, in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Libya; documenting the rescues of thousands of migrants and refugees. He recently traveled to Myanmar and Bangladesh, on a fact-finding mission, about the plight of the Rohingya refugees, and recently returned back from another mission to document the refugees in Turkey.
Currently – mid-December 2015: on route to the Aegean Sea, to board MOAS’s new rescue boat, the Responder, to document the refugees making the often perilous, and all-too-often fatal, crossing from Turkey to Greece.
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Since May, 2015, Jason Florio has been basing out of Malta, Europe, working with MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station), on board the Phoenix , to document the migrant and refugee crisis in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Libya.
To view more of Florio’s footage, from the rescues, please check out ‘Film & Video’