WASHINGTON—The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, today announced the following briefing:
SEA RESCUES: SAVING REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS ON THE MEDITERRANEAN
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Russell Senate Office Building
Live Webcast: www.facebook.com/HelsinkiCommission
Ships on the Mediterranean Sea have rescued 117,000 refugees and migrants bound for Europe so far in 2017, and many more since the crisis first reached the continent in 2015. In the past two years, almost 12,000 refugees and migrants have died or gone missing.
Many of the sea rescues have been conducted by coast guard and naval ships from frontline European countries; the European Union’s Border and Coast Guard Agency, also known as Frontex; and EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia. Merchant ships have also played an important role in sea rescues of migrants and refugees on the Mediterranean. According to the International Chamber of Shipping, merchant ships have rescued more than 41,300 of them since 2015.
This briefing will examine how rescue operations work; what ships are obligated to do when they become aware of a vessel in distress; issues of human trafficking and smuggling; how well governments, shipping companies, and international organizations coordinate and collaborate with each other on sea rescues; major challenges that currently exist for navies, coast guards, and merchant ships involved in rescue operations; and recommendations to address these challenges.
The following panelists will offer brief remarks, followed by questions:
- Catherine Flumiani, Minister Counselor, Embassy of Italy to the U.S.
- Michalis Stamatis, First Secretary and Consul, Embassy of Greece to the U.S.
- Ludwig Blaurock, Political and Military Counsellor, European Union Delegation to the U.S.
- Laura Thompson, Deputy Director General, International Organization for Migration
- John Murray, Marine Director, International Chamber of Shipping