By Sebastien Malo

NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – British rock band Coldplay has thrown its support behind a Malta-based humanitarian charity that saves migrants in search-and-rescue missions at sea, the charity said on Thursday.

The musicians, known for hits such as “Clocks” and “Viva La Vida”, kicked off their new role as patrons of MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station) with an online fundraising film.

“We feel duty-bound to raise awareness about this noble mission,” the Grammy Award-winning band said in a statement.

Coldplay perform on The Pyramid stage at Worthy Farm in Somerset during the Glastonbury Festival, Britain, June 26, 2016. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS – RTX2ICO2

In the film, entitled “Rescue Humanity”, the band’s lead vocalist, Chris Martin, sings an a cappella rendition of Coldplay’s hit song “Don’t Panic” over footage depicting distressed migrants at sea being rescued by MOAS staff.

“But for an accident of geography, those people could be us and we could be them,” Martin said in a statement.

MOAS has saved the lives of more than 30,000 migrants making perilous journeys from northern Africa and the Middle East to Europe, often on flimsy rafts and boats, the charity said.

In 2017 so far, some 5,500 migrants and refugees had entered Europe by sea by the end of January, with over three quarters arriving in Italy and the remainder in Greece, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

More than 250 were believed to have drowned, IOM data shows.

Migration flows are expected to increase later this year once the weather warms. [nL5N1FN3MI]

(Reporting by Sebastien Malo @sebastienmalo, Editing by Astrid Zweynert. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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