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“Safer, managed routes” for migrants needed to prevent disaster, says IMO head

“Safer, managed routes” for migrants needed to prevent disaster, says IMO head
IMO secretary-general Koji Sekimizu today reiterated calls for coordinated international action to safeguard migrants, following the loss of hundreds of migrant lives over the weekend.

Sekimizu held that the despite the “significant” contribution of coastguards, naval forces of Italy and Malta, EU Operation Triton and merchant shipping, "The deaths of hundreds of migrants drowned in the Mediterranean within sight of a potential rescue ship once again highlight the need for urgent action to be taken against those unscrupulous criminals whose greed and lack of respect for human life allow them to cram hundreds of innocent, desperate people into unsuitable craft with no concern for their safety.

“At the same time, I call upon Governments and the wider international community to expedite their efforts to take coordinated action to safeguard migrants and to manage the flow of migrants across borders in ways that do not lead to them being exploited and taken to sea in unsafe craft".

“The international maritime search and rescue system created through IMO instruments was not designed to handle the huge flows of migrants that are currently being seen in the Mediterranean.  In being compelled to embark these unsafe vessels, migrants are effectively being put into extreme danger as soon as they leave shore.

“The fact that migrants are drowning within sight of their would-be rescuers is testament to the dangers they face and every effort should be taken to find safer, managed routes for migrants.”

The news follows March’s inter-agency meeting to address unsafe mixed migration by sea at the IMO.