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Disposable migrant ships must be addressed, stresses IMO head

Disposable migrant ships must be addressed, stresses IMO head
IMO Secretary General Koji Sekimizu has stated the imperative that disposable migrant ships do not form “a new trend” in the Mediterranean, indicating that the problem must be addressed “at the highest level”.

Addressing recent cases of vessels full of migrants being abandoned close to shore, Sekimizu indicated: “I am very concerned about the recent developments, where large commercial merchant ships have been used in the illegal smuggling of migrants. I hope the involvement of commercial ships will not form a new trend."

Sekimizu appeared to suggest that owners might be deliberately selling their vessels to traffickers rather than paying to scrap them, indicating: "This cannot be a new way of ship disposal. This would touch upon ethics, moral and social responsibility of the maritime industry including maritime authorities.”

“The root cause of the problem remains the same - the obvious involvement of people-smugglers. I have been highlighting the urgent need to address this international crime of people-smuggling at the highest level, both within the United Nations and with individual agencies including INTERPOL and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

“We will be exploring the possibility of establishing new measures to address this crime at an inter-agency meeting to be convened at IMO headquarters in London, at the beginning of March this year."