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The Mixed Migrant Safety – Central Mediterranean Project

How can the International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) provide assistance/expertise to those who are faced with the current maritime search and rescue (SAR) challenges in the Mediterranean?

Photo Right: Courtesy from MOAS/Jason Florio

 

Who & What is the IMRF

Who & What Is the IMRF?

We are a long-established international non-governmental organization (NGO) representing 125 organisations with an interest in maritime SAR across 48 countries around the world. Most of the major European national maritime SAR services are members of the IMRF and we work together to reduce the loss of life on and around water. Our membership includes Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres, Coast Guards and volunteer response organisations and spans both Government and non-Government SAR organisations.

What We Do

What We Do

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Represent our members on global maritime SAR issues at IMO, where we hold consultative status, and other international forums.
Develop guidelines and provide organisational support around the concept of mass rescue.
Promote cooperation, exchange of information, research and development, and provide advice and consultancy for and between maritime SAR services – based on our knowledge of all the key organisations, their capabilities and their interest in this area.
Encourage and promote the development of maritime SAR services throughout the world in order that we can work towards truly global SAR provision.

SAR in the Mediterranean Today – How We Perceive the Current Situation

SAR in the Mediterranean Today – How We Perceive the Current Situation

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Huge numbers of ill-prepared asylum-seekers and economic migrants are making the journey by sea to Europe either via the Southern Mediterranean heading for Italy or Malta or in the Eastern Mediterranean from Turkey to Greece.
There is no indication of any significant reduction in the number attempting the sea crossing over the next 12 months albeit the winter months will make crossings more difficult and deter some attempts.
There are insufficient maritime SAR resources and a lack of mass rescue experience in both these affected areas.

IMRF Policy Towards the Current Mixed Migrant Issue

IMRF Policy Towards the Current Mixed Migrant Issue

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Recognising that the solution to the underlying humanitarian crises cannot be found at sea – they must be addressed at source and by the intended destination countries – we focus on the maritime SAR issues they give rise to.
We recognise that the Central and Eastern Mediterranean are very different SAR challenges, requiring specific solutions appropriate to each affected maritime area.
We would like to help governments and agencies develop and improve an integrated rescue provision in both locations by coordinating between the agencies seeking to build maritime SAR capacity (coastguards and, where they exist, voluntary lifeboat organisations) and IMRF members who can/could provide equipment and training.
We would also like to ensure that any input or development is ultimately sustainable – when the problem declines, the local facilities should be stronger for the future.

How We Can Help?

How We Can Help?

We have a unique ability to access skills and expertise from some of the world’s recognised leaders in maritime SAR and engage them at a strategic and a tactical level.

We have several partners willing and able to supply or procure appropriate assets in the Central and Eastern Mediterranean regions – but they want to be part of a coordinated effort.
We can also access significant levels of expertise in relevant SAR training to support and help develop the capability of existing maritime SAR teams.
And, we have a successful track record in the current crisis.
  o One IMRF member has operated a self-contained 23m rescue boat in Greek waters (under Frontex control) for the past 8 months rescuing over 1200 people. They have also donated equipment to the Hellenic Rescue Service.
  o Other members have provided rescue craft, equipment and training to build the capability of the local rescue services primarily the Hellenic Rescue Team
  o And another has successfully rescued 11,600 people in the last 7 months from the Libyan sector from their private vessel.
But, we are continuing to see large flows of people coming from Libya with no sign that this flow will reduce any time soon.

Background

Background

The IMRF has long supported the work being done by Government and Non-Government organisations saving lives off the coast of Libya in the Central Mediterrean. Representing the concerns at the IMO and promoting the need for an increased rescue presence to ensure lives are not lost when the boats migrants are travelling on get into trouble.

The Italian Coast Guard has been our primary Government point of contact as they have endured the majority of the workload for coordination and response. Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) became the IMRF’s first NGO member established for the sole purpose of saving lives of migrants in the Mediterranean he they joined in 2014.

In July 2016 the Italian Coast Guard MRCC called a meeting "UNA VIS", “This meeting will be an appropriate opportunity to understand how we could better coordinate the efforts to ensure the safety of life at sea in the Mediterranean Sea scenario daily crossed by several unseaworthy boats with migrants on board.

Representatives of the relevant International Organizations connected with the migration phenomenon will join the meeting, in which your organization could explain, in a dedicated panel, who you are, how you do your activities and what difficulties you find during your missions."

At this meeting there were 4 IMRF member NGO’s and 10 other volunteer rescue groups represented, as well as the International Organization for Migrants (IOM), the United National High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the hosts of the meeting Italian Coast Guard

Mixed Migrant Safety Project-Central Mediterranean

Mixed Migrant Safety Project-Central Mediterranean

IMRF Activity

The IMRF will identify ways of supporting the work being done in the Central Mediterranean with the goal of raising the profile of the ongoing rescue activity, provide advocacy on relevant SAR issues that will arise and help with the communication and cooperation of all the stakeholders.

Immediate Action

The IMRF will provide a web-site to give a common portal for the work being done to save lives in the central Mediterranean.

The Web-site will contain information and news on the crisis in the Central Mediterranean including but not restricted too:

1) Details of the NGO’s operating in these waters
2) Links to their webpages
3) A secure document library accessible to UNA VIS participants
4) News stories relevant to the region and life saving activity
5) Promotion of the activity through the IMRF media and social media channels

How Can You Help?

How Can You Help?

Working together we can achieve so much more.

If you or your organisation would like to partner with this project or able to make a donation of time, resources, expertise, financial, etc, please go to the following pages:

o To donate your time, expertise and resources, please register here (new window).
o To donate financially, please visit our Support Us (new window) .
o To donate resources and expertise only, please visit our MAM Website (new window) .
o To become an IMRF Member, please visit the "Become a Member" pages (new window) .

IMRF Contacts

IMRF Contacts

Job Title Name   E-mail
Chief Executive Officer: 
Bruce Reid   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Chairman: Udo Helge Fox   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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