Spanish NGO Open Arms has been fined a 20-day administrative blockade and fine of up to €10,000 for carrying three back-to-back rescues in the Mediterranean Sea.
ccording to Open Arms, the Italian authorities seized their boat on the port of Carrara. As pet the Italian Law 15/2023, search and rescue vessels are restricted from carrying out more than one rescue operation at a time, as the legislation states that search and rescue vessels should navigate towards the assigned place of safety after a rescue operation, without delay.
We will bear this unjust detention and the resulting legal costs, but we find it unacceptable to have to suffer this situation because we have done our duty, respecting the Law of the Sea and international conventions.
… claimed the NGO
However, the NGO claims they abided by the Law of the Sea and international conventions. In early September, 56 NGOs released a joint statement calling for an end to the obstruction of civil search and rescue activities in the Mediterranean amid ongoing deaths and crossings.
It is the legal and moral obligation of the captain of any ship to provide assistance to shipwrecked persons in distress. Failure to render assistance is a serious offence punishable by law.
… Open Arms said in a statement