Oscar Camps, a Spaniard, was a lifeguard who traveled with a colleague to the Greek island of Lesbos to see what he could do to help as thousands of Syrian refugees washed up from Turkey. The situation spurred him to action, and he decided to start his own nongovernmental aid group, Proactiva – “Open Arms” Foundation, through a crowdfunding campaign. Livio Lo Monaco, the Italian owner of a Spanish mattress company, donated his yacht, the Astral, to help the valiant Cause.

Since the Astral started prowling the Mediterranean, the repurposed luxury sailing yacht has helped rescue about 15,000 refugees and migrants trying to reach Europe by boat, mostly from Libya, Mr. Camps estimated.

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