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IMO sec-gen Sekimizu further condemns migrant traffickers

IMO sec-gen Sekimizu further condemns migrant traffickers
Following news that over 2500 migrants were rescued by the Greek coastguard over the weekend, IMO secretary-general Koji Sekimizu has once again condemned the practice of people smuggling as “callous” and “appalling”.

“Not only are these activities illegal,” said Sekimizu, “they are also carried out with a callous disregard for human life and a total disrespect for any of the internationally accepted standards for safety of life at sea, developed and adopted by IMO.”

Despite his praise of those participating in rescue operations, including navies, coast guards, merchant ships and private vessels, Sekimizu called for stronger action by governments and the international community to prevent migrants undertaking risky sea passages in the first place.

“The sea is an unforgiving place. Any rescue operation is a dangerous undertaking for all concerned and places lives at risk – including those of the rescuers. Ideally, these vessels should be prevented from taking to sea at all.

“I urge governments and humanitarian organizations to better manage migration ashore and authorities in the departure zones to redouble their efforts to keep overloaded, unsafe vessels from taking to sea.”

Earlier this year, news emerged of an EU strategy planning to a year-long Libyan air and naval intervention “to fight the migrants traffickers in accordance with international law".