An unprecedented attack on solidarity at sea is currently unfolding.
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) carrying out rescue operations in the dangerous sea area between Sicily and Libya have been targeted for months by a smear campaign by politics, media and even prosecutors.
The NGOs are accused of acting – willing or unwillingly – as a “pull factor” for migrants and even of colluding with traffickers.
In Rome, the Italian government threatens the closure of ports and promises a new, rigid sea rescue regulation for NGOs doing search and rescue in the Mediterranean; at sea, the Libyan Coast Guard – trained by Italy with the aim of giving it a central role in tackling migrant flows – is increasingly aggressive with NGO boats (and currently under investigations by the international criminal court).
How much do you know about solidarity at sea?
In this context, it is fundamental to ask: how do search and rescue missions *really* work? And again: saving life at sea is an obligation, and for whom? What exactly is a safe place? How are search and rescue (SAR) missions organized and has the need for private ship intervention arisen? What rules apply to the high seas, onboard and in port?
Because knowing your rights is the first step in being able to assert them.
Header photo: Federica Mameli/SOS Méditerranée/Luz.