LIFELINE urges a Port of Safety for 226 people rescued in maritime distress

Dresden / Mediterranean, 21st of June, 2018

The dutch flagged vessel LIFELINE, operated by the German NGO MISSION LIFELINE has rescued 226 people this morning, far in international waters and in line with all international regulations. As until now, none was assigned, MISSION LIFELINE urges for a Port of Safety to disembark those rescued. MISSION LIFELINE therefore expects the competent authorities to act according to International law and the IMO guidelines on the treatment of people rescued at sea. 

With 226 on board, rescued under adherence of all applicable international legislation, LIFELINE is on its way north. As no Port of Safety is assigned yet and no IMO certified MRCC took responsibility, MISSION LIFELINE fears, that a similar situation to the Aquarius one week ago could be on the horizon. The day long journey the Aquarius had to take to reach Valencia and the decreasing medical condition of the people aboard during the transit have proven that this can not be an option. Therefore the NGO calls on the competent authorities to swiftly react according to their obligation to designate a place of safety.

On Facebook, the Italian minister of transport stated the LIFELINE would not be equipped to take people on board. The LIFELINE however was the best equipped asset in the whole area of operation at the moment the shipwreck occurred. In contrast to the LIFELINE, the vessels of the so called Libyan Coast Guard are not equipped with enough live saving equipment, such as life jackets for the people to be rescued. Furthermore there is no medical personal on board the Libyan vessel. MISSION LIFELINE repeatedly called out to the European States to take responsibility themselves and to send assets however in this case no other asset has been present so the Crew of the LIFELINE anyhow had no chance than doing its duty, perfectly in line with international law. 

The dispute on migration must not be carried out at the expense of people in maritime distress. MISSION LIFELINE urges the European governments not to violate the principle of rescue at sea due to inter-state tensions about disembarkation. The moment to discuss European solidarity is not when boats with people in distress are arriving at EU shores. The absolute priority has to be to offer them immediate access to the safest port.

MISSION LIFELINE finances the missions in the Mediterranean with donations. The organization, founded in 2016, has been active since September with its ship "LIFELINE". Since their existence, the German non-governmental organization has been able to save 675 people.

copyright photos: Hermine Poschmann / MISSION LIFELINE

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