Dl Migrants, Sea Watch: “New attempt to criminalize NGOs”

“We will respect international law, as we always have.” Sos Mediterranee: “No Far West, there are already rules and we respect them”

The dl migrants? “The new ‘Security decree’ approved by the Council of Ministers of the Meloni government is nothing more than the umpteenth attempt to hinder and criminalize the activities of civil society ships. No government can prevent a ship from evading its obligation to rescue and no ship will refuse to welcome those who ask for help in the central Mediterranean. We will respect international law, as we always have”. Sea Watch told Adnkronosregarding the draft of the immigration decree approved by the CDM and containing the new rules of conduct for the ships of the civil fleet that carry out rescues at sea.

“We will read the new rules and evaluate them. It is important to underline, however, that our work is already largely governed by a rather substantial corpus of international standards, treaties and conventions that regulate rescue at sea. Any national law cannot be in contrast with this set of rules,” he told Adnkronos this morning Francesco Creazzo, spokesman for Sos Mediterranee. “Civil aid organizations do not operate in anarchy – underlines Creazzo -. There is no Far West and we are not the ‘pirates of the Caribbean’. On the contrary, we operate in full compliance with international rules that almost all the countries of the world have signed and ratified”.

The package of measures elaborated by the Minister of the Interior, Matteo Piantedosi, should provide for the possibility of a single rescue with the reporting to the competent authorities of the operations and the immediate assignment of a safe port. De facto rules already followed in recent weeks with the assignment in record time of the Pos to the ships of the civil fleet engaged in the central Mediterranean. Ports, however, increasingly distant from the Sar area. At the Ocean Viking of Sos Mediterranee, which in the night between Monday and Tuesday rescued 113 people, including 23 women, some of them pregnant, about 30 unaccompanied minors and 3 newborns (the youngest is only three weeks old), yesterday La Spezia was first assigned and after a few hours Ravenna. A choice “problematic from various points of view”, explains Creazzo.

Firstly because “it puts the lives of people fleeing in the central Mediterranean at risk”, says the spokesman for Sos Mediterranee, recalling how at the moment “the Ocean Viking is the only rescue ship in the area. There are no others assets”. Furthermore, Ravenna is four and a half days of navigation from the position where the humanitarian vessel conducted the rescue. “This distance is a safety risk for the people we rescue, as well as for the crew.” And then there is the logistical aspect, i.e. “time and the economic factor”. In short, “a series of problems that do not give us hope. Certainly this type of indication cannot arise in practice”, he warns.

“We have always complied with national laws, but these cannot be in conflict with the law of the sea and with international regulations”, underlines Creazzo. What if the rule according to which only one rescue can be carried out and immediately after that it is necessary to return to port were introduced by decree? “That’s fine in principle, but if there is another vessel in distress in the area, the captain of the ship has the obligation, according to international conventions, to help. National laws cannot be in conflict with international regulations” , he concludes.