The head of the Italian shipowners association, Confitarma, has echoed calls from his counterpart in Copenhagen on how best to solve the Mediterranean migration crisis. Talking at the Shipping and the Law Conference under way in Naples, Emanuele Grimaldi said shipping companies should refuse migrant compensation as merchant shipping is not the permanent solution for the crisis.
“Let me be very clearly understood; compensation is not the answer,” he said. “Commercial ships cannot substitute for a proper international search and rescue effort.” To take any compensation would imply private shipping companies are a permanent part of the solution, which they should not be, he stressed.
Ten days ago the director-general of the Danish Shipowners’ Association came out with a similar opinion at a press conference in Copenhagen. Anne Steffensen, the Danish owners boss, said the role should remain firmly with Operation Triton, the border security operation conducted by Frontex, the European Union’s border security agency.
“Shipowners should not be rewarded for picking up refugees,” Steffensen said, adding: “We are not part of the long term solution.”