IMO welcomes UN resolution on migrant smuggling in the Mediterranean

International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu has welcomed the adoption by the United Nations Security Council of a UN Security Council resolution which authorizes UN Member States to intercept vessels suspected of migrant smuggling off the Libyan coast.

UN Security Council Resolution 2240 (2015), adopted on October 9, authorizes UN Member States, for a period of one year, and in accordance with international law, to inspect on the high seas off the coast of Libya any vessels that they have reasonable grounds to believe had been, were being, or imminently would be used by organized criminal enterprises for migrant smuggling or human trafficking from Libya, including inflatable boats, rafts and dinghies.

“I welcome the United Nations Security Council’s clear affirmation of the necessity to put an end to the recent proliferation of, and endangerment of lives by, the smuggling of migrants and trafficking of persons in the Mediterranean Sea and the strong measures advocated to address these criminal activities,” Sekimizu said.

“There is a clear recognition among IMO Member States that using the SAR system to respond to mass mixed migration was neither foreseen nor intended, and that although Governments and the merchant shipping industry will continue rescue operations, safe, legal, alternative pathways to migration must be developed, including safe, organized migration by sea, if necessary”.

The need for a sustainable solution to the problem of migrants being placed in distress in hope of rescue, to include a response which does not focus solely on the existing search and rescue system, was the topic of a letter from the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) to IMO, which IMO Secretary-General Sekimizu forwarded to the Secretary-General of the United Nations prior to the September 30 side event on migration at the United Nations in New York.

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