The European Parliament will this week adopt an own-initiative report on how the EU should deal with migration by sea, which has been welcomed by European shipowners, who say the document will point the EU in the right direction.
Most pertinently to shipowners, the report discusses search and rescue operations at sea, for which it states “the proper funding at EU and Member State level is essential” and that “private shipmasters and NGOs who genuinely assist persons in distress at sea should not risk punishment for providing search and rescue assistance”.
The report also covers broader migration topics such as human trafficking, asylum and managing the EU’s external borders.
“The seafarers have always played their part in coming to rescue of those in distress at sea. In the past year, even more so as the merchant ships have conducted large scale rescue operations in saving the lives of thousands of migrants and refugees,” Patrick Verhoeven, secretary general of the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA), said in a release.
“We agree with the European Parliament that all needs to be done to prevent loss of life at sea. The scheduled report allocates rightly the responsibility at Member State and EU level of organising a permanent European Union response in search and rescue operations.”
The European Parliament will vote on the report during this week’s plenary session.