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Move German Naval assets outside Triton zone, says German Shipowners Association

Move German Naval assets outside Triton zone, says German Shipowners Association

The German Shipowners Association (VDR) has called for German naval vessels to patrol for refugees in distress outside of current EU patrol limits in the Mediterranean.

VDR ceo Ralf Nagel stated: "The German Navy vessels assigned to rescue refugees from boats in distress in the Mediterranean should be deployed in areas not currently patrolled by EU ships. The 200-300 km-wide area between the boundaries of the Triton operational zone and the coast of Libya is where the most devastating disasters to date have occurred, with thousands of refugees drowning."

The association's appeal was given ahead of a summit ofthe German Federal Government today aimed at addressing the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean.

Nagel stressed that the strip between the Triton zone boundary and Libya's cost is where merchant ships often come upon boats in distress, packed with people in need of medical assistance and care. The rescue operations, in which seafarers are often unable to save everyone's life with limited resources, are traumatic for the crew, he claimed.

"Deploying the Navy in that part of the Mediterranean would not only send a strong political signal to Brussels, it would also be an important message for the shipping industry, which is doing all it can.

"Merchant vessels must be enabled to handover any refugees they have rescued to ships operated by EU authorities quickly. In emergencies, the ship crews need to
be assisted by Navy medical teams brought in by helicopter."

The scale of the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean has ballooned over the past year, as more desperate refugees flee war and political turmoil in the Middle East and Africa.

Merchant vessels saved over 40,000 people from the waters of the Mediterranean last year, and to date this year 5,300 refugees have been brought to safety by German vessels alone.

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