The decision of the EU Council to launch EUNAVFOR Med was today strongly welcomed by BIMCO, following the association’s statement on 24 April calling for an extension of Operation Triton’s geographical reach.
BIMCO’s April statement highlighted the risks to the health, safety and security of seafarers who assist distressed migrants in increasingly large numbers – and that merchant shipping is not equipped to handle the humanitarian crisis at sea caused by the levels of migration in the Mediterranean.
Giles Noakes, Chief Officer for Maritime Security at BIMCO, said: “It is reassuring to see the efforts of EU leaders continuing to address this crisis – and now beyond the search and rescue mission of Operation Triton – to help deal with the people smugglers and the business model that is building the humanitarian crisis of distressed migrants in the Mediterranean Sea.
“We understand that this is – legally and ethically – a complex issue for the UN and the EU to address, but it must be addressed for the sake of the refugees and the safety and security of seafarers and ships.
“Migration is a long term problem for nations to solve”.
“But a fundamental aim right now must be to destroy the business model of people-smugglers.
“The stated intention of EUNAVFOR Med to search, seize and disrupt the assets of people-smugglers – in partnership with Libyan authorities – is crucial to that aim and we welcome this announcement and future efforts on this.”