Shortly before midnight on Saturday, an estimated 700 migrants plunged to their deaths in the frigid Mediterranean about 112 miles south of Italy.
The tragedy came less than a week after another 400 people lost their lives attempting the dangerous sea crossing.
But come May, there will be another search-and-rescue ship scouring the waves for migrants fleeing war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East.
Chris and Regina Catrambone are a wealthy couple whose 132-foot floating medical center has already rescued more than 3,000 people since it launched late last year.
Inspired by a sermon from Pope Francis in which he criticized what he called the "global indifference" to the refugee crisis, the couple invested in a 483-ton converted fishing trawler named Phoenix.
The boat is equipped with two high-tech drones, a medical clinic, 1,265 gallons of water, hundreds of life jackets and food. Manning all of this is a crew of 20, including doctors, paramedics and a cook.
The Catrambones are spending an average of $445,000 of their own money each month in operating costs, describing themselves as "social entrepreneurs" who make their money from running an insurance, emergency assistance and intelligence company, according to a report by CNN.