Following the drowning of hundreds of migrants, shipping industry calls on Europe to do more to end crisis.
International shipping associations have urged European leaders to deal with the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean sea after hundreds of immigrants were drowned over the past few days.
The European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) have asked that the resources for search and rescue operations be increased “before thousands more people die”.
Speaking from Brussels, Patrick Verhoeven, general secretary of ECSA, said: “The scale of the tragedy at the weekend is unprecedented and European leaders can no longer ignore the catastrophe occurring on the EU’s maritime border.”
At least 800 people lost their lives in multiple boat sinkings while trying to reach Europe.
ECSA and ICS also agreed that there is a vital need to find a means to clamp down on criminal people smugglers, as well as the complex root causes of this mass migration by sea.
Verhoeven added: “The provision of additional funding and resources to SAR is a positive step but more clarity is required to understand the implications of operating within the Frontex mandate.”
The two organizations welcomed the EU’s decision to call an extraordinary session of its leaders to address the crisis.
Peter Hinchliffe, general secretary of London-based ICS, said: “Italy, Malta and other Mediterranean nations and the merchant ships on which they have relied to assist with hundreds of large scale rescue operations simply cannot continue to manage the situation without the collective support of all EU member states, which need to act now without further delay. “We really need EU Mare Nostrum.”
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