Couple use 132-foot fishing boat to help migrants

Chris and Regina Catrambone's 132-foot floating medical center has already rescued more than 3,000 people since it launched late last year.

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.


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