Shortly before midnight on Saturday, an estimated 700 migrants plunged to their deaths in the frigid Mediterranean, some 180 kilometers south of Italian shores.
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 launching 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 one cook.
Digging deep into their own pockets, the Catrambones are spending an average $445,000 each month in operating costs, describing themselves as "social entrepreneurs" who make their money from running an insurance, emergency assistance, and intelligence company.
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