Urgent action is needed to prevent huge losses of life at sea given the forecast increase in unsafe mixed migration by sea, the Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) of the IMO agreed, following a special session on the issue (9 June).
The MSC commended the efforts of rescue services, merchant vessels and others in saving lives. But it condemned the actions of the people smugglers. The committee agreed that greater focus needs to be placed on addressing unsafe migration by sea through more safe and regular migration pathways. It was agreed that the issue of unsafe mixed migration by sea should be placed on the agenda of the committee and other IMO bodies in order to further discuss the matter and develop actions.
IMO Secretary-General Sekimizu told the MSC the situation was a truly humanitarian crisis which was not sustainable. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, addressing the committee via video message, said this global issue required everyone to work together with a comprehensive approach, which would protect human rights, uphold international law and recognize the benefits of migration. Also addressing the special session were representatives of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).