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IMO welcomes UN resolution on intercepting people smuggling vessels

IMO welcomes UN resolution on intercepting people smuggling vessels
The IMO secretary-general Koiji Sekimizu has welcomed a UN Security Council Resolution authorising member states to intercept vessels suspected of migrant smuggling off the Libyan coast.

The resolution, adopted on 9 October, authorises member states, for one year, and in accordance with international law, to inspect any vessels in the area they have reasonable grounds to suspect had been, were being, or imminently would be used for criminal trafficking of migrants from Libya, including rafts, inflatables or dinghies.

Since the current crisis started in early 2014, Sekimizu has consistently called for concerted action to be taken to tackle people smugglers.

Sending the migrants to sea in unseaworthy boats has cost thousands of lives though many more have been rescued. But the IMO has constantly pointed out, the merchant shipping industry and its search and rescue procedures simply cannot cope with the numbers involved nor were designed to.

Of the UN resolution, Sekimizu said: 'I welcome the United Security Council's clear affirmation of the necessity to put and end to the recent proliferation of, and endangerment of lives by, the smuggling of migrants and trafficking of persons in the Mediterranean Sea and the strong measures advocated to address these criminal activities.'