A Torm tanker rescues migrants in the Mediterranean Sea in July 2014. Photo: TORM A/S
European shipowners have welcomed the own-initiative report by the European Parliament to be adopted this week on migration, outlining in detail how the EU should respond to the current migration challenge.
Covering topics from human trafficking to asylum and EU external borders management, it also discusses the “search and rescue” operations at sea.
“The seafarers have always played their part in coming to rescue of those in distress at sea. In the past year, even more so as the merchant ships have conducted large scale rescue operations in saving the lives of thousands of migrants and refugees”, said European Community Shipowners’ Association Secretary General Patrick Verhoeven. “We agree with the European Parliament that all needs to be done to prevent loss of life at sea. The scheduled report allocates rightly the responsibility at Member State and EU level of organising a permanent European Union response in search and rescue operations”, he added.
The own initiative report on the EU Agenda on Migration is scheduled to be voted on in this week’s Plenary session. The text reflects the opinions of the European shipowners as it states that concerning the search and rescue “the proper funding at EU and Member State level is essential” and that “private shipmasters and NGOs who genuinely assist persons in distress at sea should not risk punishment for providing search and rescue assistance”.