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UN agencies meet to address unsafe mixed migration by sea

In 2014, more than 200,000 people rescued and more than 3,000 people died in illegal sea passages United Nations agencies are meeting in London on Wednesday, 4 March to discuss concerted ways to address the high numbers of lives being lost at sea in unsafe craft, particularly in the Mediterranean Sea, where hundreds of people are reported to have died in recent weeks alone on dangerous and unregulated sea passages.The High-Level Meeting to Address Unsafe Mixed Migration by Sea is being hosted at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Headquarters in London and aims to facilitate dialogue and promote enhanced cooperation and harmonization between United Nations agencies, international organizations, non-governmental organizations, Governments and the shipping industry.It has been agreed that a mechanism will be established, to enhance inter-agency communication with respect to the maritime aspects of mixed migration. The meeting is also discussing joint projects, for example, the establishment of joint databases to share and collate information and statistics on irregular movements and suspect vessels; quantifying the effects of irregular and unsafe crossings on the shipping industry; and improving maritime situational awareness.IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu said that the issue of mixed migration by sea, including irregular migration, had, in recent years, ...

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ICS urges Europe to act to prevent loss of more lives

Merchant ships rescued around 40,000 people during 2014, according to UNHCR The humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean Sea is spiralling out of control. EU Member States must act urgently to prevent the loss of thousands more lives, as hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees seek to escape to Europe in boats that are unfit for purpose and which are largely operated by people smugglers.This is the key message which the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the principal global trade association for ship operators, will deliver to a high-level United Nations inter-agency meeting on the crisis, being hosted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London on 4 March.Merchant ships rescued around 40,000 people during 2014, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). But this number is predicted to increase dramatically during 2015 if the political situation in Africa and the Middle East further deteriorates.ICS says that the burden of responsibility placed on ships and their crews to rescue migrants in distress has been further increased by the replacement of Italy's humanitarian Mare Nostrum' operation with the EU funded Triton' operation, whose primary mandate is border protection and which operates with very limited resources."The response to the ...

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IOM Reports at least 3,800 Migrants Rescued

More needs to be done on saving migrants IOM teams in Italy reported Tuesday (17/2) that 933 migrants have arrived on the island of Lampedusa during the past 24 hours, bringing to at least 3,800 the total number of survivors rescued from the Mediterranean since Friday (13/2).In addition to nearly one thousand migrants now being processed in Lampedusa - where the capacity of the reception centre is normally just 400 - almost 300 more either are bound for the port of Pozzallo, on the island of Sicily, or are already in a reception centre there. Three hundred more areen route to the port of Calabria, while 640 rescued migrants are bound for Porto Empedocle, also in Sicily. Late Monday IOM learned that 265 rescued migrants also are bound for Lampedusa.Italy's Ministry of Interior reported 3,528 migrants arrived in Italy by sea in January. Totals for February already have topped last month's arrivals, indicating 2015's human smuggling season is starting earlier than in years past, with potentially lethal consequences. In 2014 IOM reported 3,279 migrants died attempting to cross the Mediterranean bound for Europe.It is not yet known how many fatalities may have occurred during what is believed to have been ...

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Need for action to address unsafe migration by sea

IMO Sec-Gen calls for more action illegal and unregulated passage of migrants Following the events of recent days in which more than 2000 migrants were rescued from the Mediterranean Sea and several hundred lost their lives, IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu called for more concerted action to address the issue of criminals who organize illegal and unregulated sea passage by migrants, putting thousands of lives at risk."We do not seek to prevent migration. People have the human right to migrate. But it is time to stop illegal, unregulated passage arranged by people smugglers. Not only do they put the lives of the migrants in danger, they also endanger the rescue services and merchant shipping which take part in the rescue operations. Something needs to be done against the smugglers or the situation will not improve. It is placing an intolerable strain on rescue services and on merchant vessels," Mr. Sekimizu said.Mr Sekimizu noted with appreciation the efforts made by Italian and other authorities in the most recent rescue operations over the weekend. However, he drew attention to the fact that more than 200,000 people were rescued and more than 3,000 reported to have died in unsafe, irregular and illegal sea passages ...

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Updated Rescue at sea guidance now available

A guide to principles and practice as applied to refugees and migrants The updated and revised Rescue at Sea: A guide to principles and practice as applied to refugees and migrants is now available.It has been prepared jointly by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). It provides guidance on relevant legal provisions, on practical procedures to ensure the prompt disembarkation of rescued persons, and on measures to meet their specific needs, particularly in the case of refugees and asylum-seekers. You can read the revised guide by clicking on the image below:You can also read the following related articles:ICS issues guidelines for Large Scale Rescue Operations at SeaRescue of migrants at sea is an obligation ICS saysIOM Investigates Reports of Deliberate Drowning of 500 Migrants in MediterraneanGuide to principles and practice as applied to migrants and refugeesRecommendations for encountering distressed persons at sea in MediterraneanIMO, UN in joint statement on protection at sea in the 21st centurySource and Image Credit: IMO

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