WatchTheMed Alarm Phone Press Release, 16/04/2017
Over this Easter weekend, we witnessed countless maritime emergencies unfold in the Central Mediterranean Sea. Thousands of people remain in situations of acute distress as European actors fail to support the large-scale Search and Rescue operations carried out by the NGOs.
Despite the anticipated surge in sea crossings via Libya, adequate rescue capacities remain absent – and it is only due to the courageous NGOs in the area that we have, so far, not learned about any major shipwrecks. They are, however, beyond their capacity and both the Iuventa and Sea-Eye have urgently signalled MAYDAY and requested support from the Italian Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Rome. The Iuventa has taken in hundreds of people and cannot navigate anymore while many migrants remain on distressed vessels near them that, at any moment, can overturn. However, nobody seems to respond to their urgent MAYDAY signals.
European actors refuse to deploy rescue capacities, they want the sea to kill and to function as a gruesome deterrent. They fail not only to assist, they viciously seek to criminalise those who struggle against mass death at sea.
We as the Alarm Phone, who were involved in two distress situations ourselves this weekend, call for an urgent deployment of Search and Rescue assets to prevent another catastrophe at sea.
WatchTheMed Alarm Phone